Green Chile Enchiladas

For a girl who doesn’t like pork – I sure eat it a lot. Last week I wrote about delicious BBQ pork stuffed sweet potatoes. While that was a new pork dish for us, this one is a classic: Green Chile Enchiladas.
We discovered this recipe quite by accident. I meant to make homemade enchiladas from complete scratch. Then I got busy and forgot to buy half the ingredients. I sent hubby to the store for enchilada sauce – he returned with green chili sauce and the rest was history. This is such an easy dish! 
Are you ready? Ok – Put approximately 3 cups of pulled pork in a bowl, add 1 can of green chiles (4 oz), and a 1/4 – 1/2 cup mexican cheese. Spoon mixture into tortilla of your choice, roll and place in pan. Cover with green chile enchilada sauce (14 oz). Top with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. 
This recipe freezes very well. Put together everything and then freeze before cooking. When ready to eat, bake at 350 degrees for one hour (if frozen). 

Breakfast Tacos

Some years ago, we spent several winters and one summer living in Mexico in our travel trailer, staying in a small village way off the beaten tourist path.  We became close with several Mexican families, literally being “adopted” as family members.  We were included in their family celebrations – baptisms, weddings, and funerals as well as the normal holidays.  Our youngest children were still small, and they attended the local schools where no English was spoken.  Needless to say, they quickly become fluent in Spanish, far more so than my husband and myself.  One of my favorite memories is of my youngest son, about 5 years old, sitting up on the counter of a hardware store and attempting to translate for my husband, who wanted to buy some PVC pipe and fittings.  After much back and forth, the mission was accomplished.

Our Mexican friends were astounded by the variety of foods we ate – and we were eating simply, using only ingredients we could buy there.  They ate basically the same things for breakfast, lunch and dinner – beans and tortillas, maybe some peppers and queso fresca to go along with them. Other dishes, such as rice, soups, tacos, etc. were for special occasions, and one chicken would feed a large family (usually as soup).  Meat was sparse and used mostly as a flavoring, and was not a part of daily meals.
Most families did not own a complete set of silverware as we know it.  A sharp knife or two, and some spoons for soup.  Everything else, including the beans, were scooped up with a piece of a tortilla and then eaten together.  (For years, my kids loved to eat beans using a torn-off piece of a tortilla to scoop them up.)  One day, I made cole slaw, and I sent some over to one of our friends so he could try it.  Sure enough, he immediately wrapped it in a tortilla, ate it and pronounced it delicious.
The only bread we had was what I made. One day I was out of bread at breakfast time and only had eggs and bacon available to fix.  We always had corn tortillas on hand that we bought from a local tortillaria, so I briefly fried several tortillas, cooked an egg and a couple of pieces of bacon, and folded them inside the tortillas, along with some crumbled queso fresca.  Oh, my word!  That was one of the best things I had ever put in my mouth!  Since then, I have added a few more ingredients (shredded cheddar, chopped tomatoes, shredded lettuce, cabbage or alfalfa sprouts) and this is still one of my favorite breakfasts.  Needless to say, my kids love them, too.

Breakfast Tacos (one generous meal)
  • 4 corn tortillas*
  • 2 strips bacon, cut in half
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese** (or queso fresca)
  • 1/2 fresh tomato, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup shredded lettuce, cabbage or alfalfa sprouts
To Assemble:

Cook bacon until crisp, then set aside. Briefly fry each tortilla in a skillet with a little oil or butter, flipping over halfway, just until it starts to brown (I like to use the grease from the bacon).  Remove from skillet, put on plate and immediately sprinkle with 1/4 of the shredded cheddar down the center, then fold in half.  Repeat the process with the rest of the tortillas.  Quickly scramble the egg in the hot skillet, and then divide evenly between the tortillas.  Add 1/2 piece of bacon to each.  At this point, I like to put the folded tortillas back into the hot skillet (off the burner) for a minute or two to be sure the cheese is melted, but it isn’t necessary.  Once the tortillas are back on the plate, carefully open each one and add chopped tomato, chopped onion, feta cheese and shredded greens.  Fold back up and prepare to feast!
This is a meal that really sticks to your ribs, and you will find that you aren’t hungry again for hours. I also often fix this for myself for lunch or dinner when I don’t have anything else handy and don’t feel like spending a lot of time cooking.
*You can use flour tortillas, but the combination of flavors just isn’t as good.

** I have always been disappointed in the queso fresca that you can buy here.  Feta cheese is much closer in taste and texture to what we bought in Mexico, and is easier to find.

Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas – A Guest Post

I have always loved to cook. As a teenager living in a household of 8 people, I had many “guinea pigs” to sharpen my skills on. My poor husband ate many leftovers our first year of marriage until I figured out how to reduce my quantities to suit two people (not sure I was ever really successful at that). Fortunately for our waistlines we were blessed with four children for me to pour my love of cooking into. One major drawback to cooking for many people is the cost, which was not a concern as a teenager when I didn’t buy the food. Let’s just say finding ways to stretch the food budget has been a priority since adding our second child to the table. One of my favorite ways to do this is to buy meats that will make more than one meal. A family favorite is my mom’s recipe for spaghetti and meatballs. I will let her share the recipe (since she is one of the blog authors). This recipe is great for company and I usually still have enough left to make a lasagna, pizza and sometimes meatball/sausage subs. That’s 4 meals!
Another budget-stretching meat is chicken which I always buy on sale. Usually I buy boneless skinless chicken breasts (I always buy boneless to keep from paying for the bones) or whole fryer/roaster chickens. The latter is my favorite for fixing 2 or more meals. My current favorite way to fix a whole chicken is in the crockpot thanks to Mom who shared an amazing recipe, The Best Whole Chicken in a Crock Pot, with me. Sometimes we eat the chicken immediately or make chicken and noodles, chicken and dumplings, chicken salad, and chicken enchiladas thereby getting several meals out one pot. 
Anyway, my sister asked me to share a family favorite and hinted at my sour cream chicken enchiladas. Considering this is still popular around here (requested at least every other week) even with only 2 children still at home, I figured why not. Before sharing the recipe, I will give a little background behind how it came into my possession. I love cookbooks, especially church and community cookbooks. Early on in my marriage Mark and I travelled as evangelists and many of the churches we visited had cookbooks which I was all too happy to purchase. I believe some of my favorite all time recipes have come out of these cookbooks and churches. Anyway, one of these cookbooks had a sour cream chicken enchilada recipe that I tried and liked. Over the years I have tweaked it here and there until it has become a regular go-to in our house and I no longer use the written recipe (not sure I even have that cookbook anymore).
So without further ado here is the recipe:
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
16 oz. sour cream
8 oz. shredded cheddar or Mexican cheese
1 regular size can medium enchilada sauce
2 green onions, sliced
10 flour tortillas
Mix chicken, sour cream, 1 cup of cheese, onions, and approx. ¼ cup enchilada sauce together in a bowl. Place 1 to ½ tablespoons (be generous) in each flour tortilla and roll, leaving ends open. Place rolled enchiladas in a baking dish that’s been sprayed with cooking spray. Cover enchiladas with remaining enchilada sauce. Cover with foil and bake 20 min. @ 350. Remove foil, sprinkle remaining cheese over top of enchiladas and bake an additional 10 minutes.

My name is Maggie and I currently live in a house with my husband and two teenagers. We have been downsizing over the past couple of years due to my oldest daughter getting married and my second daughter going away to college. The gradual decline will continue as my third daughter is preparing to graduate this spring and go to college away from home. I attempt to do weekly meal planning and have been pretty successful at it for over 20 years. I find it helpful in sticking to a budget and avoiding impulse buying when doing my grocery shopping. Menu planning is becoming a bit more challenging as my household is not as consistent for meals. I’m working on adjusting to the new model but still prefer having everyone “home” so I can cook for the “masses” .

Quick and Easy Taquitos

Taquitos are a fast but satisfying appetizer, snack or lunch, especially if you have some shredded meat of any kind in your refrigerator or freezer.  Two of my favorite meats to use are Rio Chicken and Carnitas.  I usually make a big batch during one of our freezer-cooking sessions and package in individual portions for easy access.  I am sure the Taquitos could be made vegetarian by using refried beans and/or cheese instead of the meat.

They are so simple to make that it is almost ridiculous to write out a recipe but here goes:

  • Corn tortillas
  • Shredded meat (or refried beans and/or cheese)
  • Olive oil or cooking spray

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Put a couple of tablespoons of desired filling down the center of a corn tortilla. and then fold both sides over to form a roll (do not tuck ends in).  Warm tortilla briefly in a skillet or the microwave if necessary to keep from cracking when you fold it, although they tend to crack anyhow while baking. (Don’t try to overfill or they will come apart.)  Place tortilla rolls on a cookie sheet and brush or spray with oil.  Bake for 10 minutes, turn rolls over and  brush or spray again, then bake for an additional 10 minutes until lightly browned and crisp.  Eat as is or serve with salsa and/or sour cream.

If I am eating the taquitos for a meal, I usually add a side dish of some rice cooked in the broth from the Rio Chicken or Carnitas and, if I am really going all out, a green salad.  Another good side is to roast some veggies in the oven at the same time the Taquitos are cooking. (All the recipes referenced here are also in the Recipe page on the menu at the top of the page.)

Chicken Enchilada Pasta

This is a family favorite and a good freezer meal. I ran across a great chicken sale, and stocked up. This was one of the recipes that I chose to make with all that chicken. It makes a lot, but I doubled it anyway. One serving makes enough for us to all eat at one meal, and then have left overs the next day. I split the other half between two pans to freezer for later use. I’ll just be able to pop the frozen pans (or defrosted pans) or pasta into the oven for dinner.
This recipe comes from Pearls, Handcuffs & Happy Hour. I used rotini and penne pasta because it is what I had on hand. Both were “veggie” pastas – in case you were wondering about the funky colors. You’ll have to click the link for the full recipe, but here are some pictures of the steps.

First you saute onions, then add peppers and garlic. Add chicken, green enchilada sauce, regular (red) enchilada sauce, salt and some spices. Let that simmer. Add cheese, then sour cream, and then add the pasta in. Be prepared to be amazed. Once done, I used half for our dinner and dumped the remainder into two small square pans lined with foil. I’ll let these “flash freeze” over night, and then pop out of the pans, then into a ziploc bag and into the freezer. (This means my pans are always free). 
Stay tuned for more posts on freezer friendly meals, and how to stock your freezer. 

Quick and Easy Burritos

Burritos are quick, easy, cheap to make and versatile.  They can easily be customized for your individual tastes, and are freezer friendly.  My favorite way to fix them is to fry them until golden brown in a small amount of oil, turning over halfway through. (If they are frozen when you start, be sure your heat is low so that the center has time to heat through.) You can also microwave them or bake them until heated through. I learned to make them from Mexican friends when we were living in Mexico.  When my kids were teenagers, this was a favorite snack to hold them over until the next meal, and the best part was that they could make them themselves.

The picture above is one of Kayte’s burritos (she likes lots of cheese).  All you really need is a flour tortilla and some refried beans, but I prefer to add cheese and usually some kind of meat.  Leftover cooked chicken or pulled pork works well, or I sometimes use a piece of bacon (cooked).  Let your imagination be your guide!  They are surprisingly delicious if you stop there, but adding any combination of toppings right before serving (chopped tomatoes, salsa, sour cream or feta cheese, shredded lettuce or cabbage) takes them over the top.

They are quick and easy to put together.

  • 1 Soft-taco size flour tortilla 
  • 2 heaping tablespoons refried beans (homemade or from a can)
  • Cheddar cheese, shredded or cut in a strip
  • Meat of your choice (optional)
  • Toppings (optional) – salsa, chopped tomatoes, sour cream or feta cheese, shredded lettuce or cabbage, chopped onions)

Put a line of refried beans down the center of the tortilla, top with cheese and meat (if using). Fold the ends in and then the sides over until you have formed a roll.  That’s it!  If you are going to eat it immediately bake, fry, or microwave – you can even eat it without heating if you like since all the fillings are already cooked. This makes one small burrito.  Either make several of these for one serving, or use a larger tortilla, increasing the filling ingredients as needed. To freeze, wrap tightly in parchment paper, foil or plastic wrap and put in a freezer baggie.  I prefer parchment paper, because it can go right into the microwave without unwrapping.

The picture above shows the progression from refried beans to cheese to meat (leftover carnitas).  The picture below shows how to fold the burrito.  Once folded, the next step is to cook or wrap for the freezer.

Here is an easy variation that works well for breakfast.  Heat tortilla briefly (microwave or in a dry skillet), fill with scrambled eggs, sausage or bacon (optional) cheese, chopped onion, chopped tomato, shredded lettuce or cabbage, and/or salsa).  
These are so quick and easy that you can have a batch in the freezer, just waiting to grab to take to work for lunch or to make a quick meals when you don’t have much time.