January 4, 2011

Cooking: Inspiration borne from desperation

It started out when B and I decided to have a two-person dinner party.

"Let's do Mexican!" one of us said, and the other agreed. B would make her famous cheese enchiladas, and I would make...something vaguely Mexican to go with it.

(If you haven't figured it out by now, my cooking style could best be described as "fly by the seat of my pants and hope something OK comes out of it." Or, more accurately, "This will probably work. Right? Eh.")

When the time came, I realized too late that I hadn't put much thought into my end of the menu. (Shocker!) So, as I readied for my departure for B's, I scanned my cupboards and started throwing things into a bag.

Box of Spanish rice -- that's Mexican, right? Ish? Black beans are always good. Green chiles. Frozen ground turkey. Onions. I can TOTALLY make something out of this.

Miraculously, this time? I was actually RIGHT.

Since then I've modified the enchiladas for my non-cheese-loving (GASP) husband, added optional refried beans for the very same, and the combination has become one of our go-to meals. In fact, I made it for our Christmas-on-New-Year's-Day celebration with my parents (more on this tomorrow), and it was a monster hit.

So now I give you:

Chicken Enchiladas Meal
by Written Permission

Serves at least 4 (with some leftovers, probably)

Ingredients (for the whole meal)

Six large tortillas
1 white onion
1 green pepper
2 large cans white meat chicken
2 large cans enchilada sauce (or 3-4 small cans)
1 large or 2 small bags of shredded cheese
1 box Zatarain's Spanish Rice
1 small can diced tomatoes
1/2 to 1 pound ground turkey
2 cans black beans
1 can green chiles (or one fresh green chile)
Minced garlic
Olive oil

Chicken Enchiladas

  1. Slice and saute a white onion and a green pepper until they're just shy of crisp. (I usually do about half the onion and the whole green pepper, but it just depends how onion-y and pepper-y you want the enchiladas.)
  2. Add chicken to the onions and green peppers. I just use two large cans of white-meat chicken, but I suppose if you're fancy you could cut up an already-cooked boneless chicken breast.) Saute all together for about five minutes.
  3. In a large tortilla, layer the onion/pepper/chicken mixture, a shredded cheese of your choosing (I usually use some combo of the Mexican-flavored and cheddar varieties) and a few dollops of enchilada sauce. Wrap up like a papoose and place in a baking dish *that has been sprayed with cooking spray or otherwise greased.* (I cannot emphasize this point enough.) Repeat for six enchiladas.
  4. Once all the enchiladas are in the pan, sprinkle more cheese and a generous swath of enchilada sauce over each one.
  5. Place in oven at 350 for about 25-30 minutes, but check on it regularly after the 25-minute mark. Remove when it's nice and bubbly and melty.

Spanish Rice
  1. Brown the ground turkey. (You can also use ground beef, of course, or just leave out the meat. I just think it makes the rice even better, and we only use ground turkey in our house.) Drain and set aside.
  2. Prepare the Zatarain's according to the directions on the box, using olive oil instead of butter. (The diced tomatoes go in here.) When it's ready to simmer, add in the ground meat and cover until the directions say it's done.

Black Beans
  1. Drain cans of black beans.
  2. In a pan, saute a sprinkling (no more than a 1/4 teaspoon; probably less) of minced garlic in olive oil.
  3. Add in green chiles and saute for a minute or two.
  4. Add in black beans and saute until heated through.

And, voila!

Super tasty, warms up well, takes about 40 minutes from start to finish, but most of that is just waiting for the food to finish cooking, vs. actively doing something.

Easy. Bada-bing, bada-boom.

4 backtalk:

Ky • twopretzels.com said...

Omg. That looks delightful. YUM.

1. I still gasp every time I recall that your husband doesn't like cheese. (Alien. He's an alien.)

2. I'm here to confirm that Spanish Rice is indeed not Mexican rice. :) (Hence the name difference.) However, it looks amazing to me.

I'd like to come over and eat that right now. As I feel that day-or-so-old Mexican food is amazing.

Nadja said...

I want to eat the crap out of that. Those are some sexy enchiladas.

wrestling kitties said...


That food looks mighty tasty. I would never know you didn't have a plan by that spread.....delicious!

Iris Took said...


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