My Foray Into Food Storage

A regular gal learning about Food Storage, Home Cooking, Canning, Gardening, and more!


16 Comments

Chicken Enchiladas – They’re Americanized, But, Hey, They’re Fast And They’re Good!

Yesterday was my son’s 21st birthday.  I know it’s hard to keep track of all the birthdays and special occasions around here.  My birthday was a little over 2 weeks ago, my third son’s birthday was last week, my second son’s birthday was yesterday, Mother’s Day was this past Sunday, and my anniversary is coming up on the 25th.  All that craziness coupled with the regular end-of-school insanity makes for fun times in our house.  But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

Of course, I add to the craziness by making whatever my kids what for their birthday dinner. It’s a fun tradition which my kids look forward to.  The only requirement for the meal is that it has to be something I can actually make (no restaurant meals).  It can be something the birthday boy loves and everyone else hates.  It’s their choice.  Sometimes the birthday boy goes for a complicated dish (like Chicken Tikka Masala, which takes hours), and other times, like last night, my son went for Chicken Enchiladas, American style.

 

Enchiladas!

Enchiladas!

 

What do I mean by American style?  There is no ounce of authenticity in these.  NOT ONE!  But they’re quick and easy to make, and they taste good.  Everyone can eat them, except for my husband who has a hard time with cheese.  But it was my son’s birthday, and if 5 out of the 6 family members can eat dinner, I consider it a success.  Usually, I would feel bad if my husband (and sole financial provider) can’t eat what I make for dinner.  But it was youth night at church, and we usually eat out for youth night.  So he grabbed a burger at In-N-Out and was quite happy with it.  Problem solved.

 

How do I make these little gems?  Let me tell ya!

 

Easy, Delicious Americanized Enchiladas

Easy, Delicious Americanized Enchiladas

 

Chicken Enchiladas

Adapted from a recipe by Rachel Anderson

 

Flour or Corn Tortillas, soft taco size (8 per 9×13 pan)

Chicken (I use chicken breast, about 1 pound per 9×13 pan)

Oil (I use olive oil)

Cheese (I use sharp cheddar and, occasionally, Monterrey jack – use at least 2 cups per 9×13 pan)

Enchilada sauce, homemade or canned (I use Old El Paso or Great Value Brand, mild.  I don’t like it too spicy.)

Salt and pepper, to taste

 

Cut up chicken into small pieces and cook over medium high heat in a skillet (with oil).  Season with salt and pepper.  Set aside when chicken is cooked through.  Pour a small amount of the  enchilada sauce into a 9×13 pan, then pour remaining sauce into a flat dish which will allow you to dip the tortillas in the sauce.  Remove one tortilla from the package, dip both sides into the enchilada sauce, then set it in the pan.  Fill with chicken and cheese, then roll it up with the seam down.  Continue until all enchiladas are rolled.  Pour remaining sauce on top of the enchiladas and sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.  Serve and Enjoy!

 

Here’s my photo step-by-step.

 

All ingredients assembled, except for the chicken...

All ingredients assembled, except for the chicken…

 

Which I cooked in a non-stick skillet with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper.

Which I cooked in a non-stick skillet with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper.

 

I prepped my 9x13 casserole dish by pouring a little enchilada sauce in the bottom of the pan, then I poured the remaining sauce into a pie tin.  I find it is the perfect size and shape for dipping the tortillas in the sauce.

I prepped my 9×13 casserole dish by pouring a little enchilada sauce in the bottom of the pan, then I poured the remaining sauce into a pie tin. I find it is the perfect size and shape for dipping the tortillas in the sauce.

 

See?  It fits perfectly.  I dipped both sides of the tortilla, leaving the edge sauce-free to keep my hands cleaner.

See? It fits perfectly. I dipped both sides of the flour tortilla, leaving the edge sauce-free to keep my hands cleaner.  I know that flour tortillas are not traditional for enchiladas, but I said these were Americanized, didn’t I?

 

Next, I transferred the tortilla to the pan and filled it with chicken and cheddar cheese.

Next, I transferred the tortilla to the pan and filled it with chicken and cheddar cheese.

 

Then, I rolled it up with the sauce-free side of the tortilla on the outside (since the sauce in the pan would coat it).  Then I placed it in the pan with the seam side down.

Then, I rolled it up with the sauce-free side of the tortilla on the outside (since the sauce in the pan would coat it). Then I placed it in the pan with the seam side down.

 

It took less than 10 minutes to roll all of these and get them ready for the oven by pouring the extra sauce over the enchiladas and sprinkling them with cheese.  Next, I popped them in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 30 minutes.

It took less than 10 minutes to roll all of these and get them ready for the oven by pouring the extra sauce over the enchiladas and sprinkling them with cheese. Next, I popped them in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 30 minutes.

 

And, Voila!  My son's favorite dinner was served!

And, Voila! My son’s favorite dinner was served!

 

I think there are only 2 enchiladas left this morning, so dinner was a great success.  This little tradition helps make birthdays special and I love it!  It’s quite a bit of fun for me to let one of my sons be “king for the day,” or at least for dinner.

What birthday traditions do you have in your house?  Please share them!

Also, DON’T FORGET!  Enter to win a great prize in my May giveaway here.

Advertisements


49 Comments

Games Make The World Go Round

Or is it Love?  Either way, something makes my world go round, and it’s definitely my family.  I love spending time with them.  One of our weekly traditions is to play a game as part of “family night.”  Family night is a night where we spend time together singing, talking, learning, eating, and playing games.  We look forward to it every week, and we always usually have a lot of fun.  Of course there are the occasional squabbles, but, in general, it is a good experience.  It centers us and brings us together.  With how crazy life gets, we need at least one day a week to slow down and just be together.  Without electronics.

 

Some of my current favorites.  This can change at any moment, but I especially love the games that I win!

Some of my current favorites. This can change at any moment, but I especially love the games that I win!

 

Don’t get me wrong.  I love my electronic devices.  They make so many things so much easier.  However, it’s really easy to get caught up in my electronic devices (phone, iPod, computer, DVD player, etc.) and not actually TALK to my family.  Some days, I’ve found that I was so busy with “important” things that I didn’t really connect with my kids.  My bad.  Family night helps with that.  We turn off our phones, tvs, computers, etc. and spend time together.  Real time.  My favorite part is playing a game.

 

 

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but I really, REALLY like to win when I play a game.  So much so that I’ve made my children cry when I beat them in Monopoly.  I try to keep this crazy obsession under control, but it can be a challenge.  It wasn’t so difficult when it was Candy Land, and they were little.  Now that they’re older, I have to remember that it is still not okay to crush them with my amazingly, winning game playing ability.  I need to be nice and sometimes forgo opportunities to beat them so thoroughly that their spirits are crushed.  My husband is good about gently reminding me that I may be going just a tad bit overboard.

 

We love games!

We love games!

 

Anyway…  Games.  Why am I talking about games when this is a Food Storage blog?  Well, there are a few reasons.  They are cheap, electricity-free, and fun.  Let me expound on that.

 

First, games provide cheap entertainment. Card and board games vary greatly in price, but it’s rare for me to see a board game for more than $40, and that’s the high end of the spectrum with most games falling right around $20.  If you consider movies, even if I buy discount tickets at Costco, it’s $34 for 4 tickets.  One game is less than one discount trip to the movies, and I can use it over and over and over again.

 

Second, games don’t require electricity.   Most card and board games are played without the use of electricity (other than the lighting in the room, but you can use candles or oil lamps).  It’s nice to take a break from all the technology which surrounds us.  Also, if there’s a power outage, we have ready-made entertainment.

 

We have invested quite a bit in games, but I consider it bargain, especially compared to movies.

We have invested quite a bit in games, but I consider it bargain, especially compared to movies.

 

Third, games are a fun way to pass the time!  We love games.  That’s why we have so many!  Since the early, lean days of our marriage, we’ve played board and card games.  John and I loved playing them when it was just the two of us, and it became more fun when the kids got old enough to play with us.  Scheming to win aside, playing games really helps build our relationship with each other and our relationships with our kids.  There’s nothing like laughing and having fun together to smooth over the rough patches and to soften hurt feelings.  Games don’t fix serious problems in relationships, but they can help with the pettiness that sometimes accompanies living in the same house with others.  Especially when one doesn’t worry so much about winning as they do about having fun with their family and friends.

 

Some of my favorite games.

Some of my favorite games.

 

Long story short, games are part of my emergency preparedness plan.  If there’s an earthquake, we’ll be covered to live without electricity for days and not get crazy bored or so overworked without a release.

 

What is your favorite board or card game?


10 Comments

Cookie Pie – Super, Ultra, Uber Processed, But, Hey, It’s My Son’s Birthday

To all my super healthy, whole-food eating readers, this recipe is probably not for you.  It really shouldn’t be for me either, as I try to make food that is processed as little as possible.  BUT, it was my son’s birthday yesterday, and we have a tradition in our home that the birthday boy gets to pick whatever he wants to eat for dinner.  Last night that meant spaghetti with meatballs and Alfredo sauce with cookie pie for dessert.

 

Cookie Pie

Cookie Pie

 

What is cookie pie?  It’s not one of those lovely cookies cooked in a pie shape.  It’s store-bought cookies, dipped in milk, put into a graham cracker crust, and topped with whipped cream.  Definitely NOT health food.  Are there things I could do to make it healthier?  Sure, but I don’t do it, because I think it doesn’t hurt, once or twice a year, to have something as insanely processed as this.  At least I made my own whipped cream.  That has to count for something, right?

 

How does one make cookie pie?  Watch and learn.  You don’t even need an official recipe for this one, although it is based on one from Southern Living At Home: Easy Weeknight Favorites.

 

To make this sinfully, delicious, mostly likely artery clogging pie, you need 2 packages of store bought cookies, milk, and a pre-made graham cracker pie crust.  I have two kinds of cookies, because they didn't have the Keebler ones when I went to the store on Saturday.  On Monday, I ran by to get cream and a few last minute things, and they had the Keebler cookies, so I bought those, too.  Personally, I think the Keebler ones work better than the Chips Ahoy ones.  If you want to make this "healthier," you can make your own crisp cookies and use those.

To make this sinfully, delicious, mostly likely artery clogging pie, you need 2 packages of store bought cookies, milk, and a pre-made graham cracker pie crust. I have two kinds of cookies, because they didn’t have the Keebler ones when I went to the store on Saturday. On Monday, I ran by to get cream and a few last minute things, and they had the Keebler Peanut Butter cup cookies, so I bought those, too. Personally, I think the Keebler ones work better than the Chips Ahoy ones. If you want to make this “healthier,” you can make your own crisp cookies and use those.

 

Why am I using this broken up pie crust?  Because you'll never know the difference.  Why do I have a broken up pie crust?  Because this was put in my baking box, and I forgot about it and piled stuff on top of it.  Oops!

Why am I using this broken up pie crust? Because you’ll never know the difference. Why do I have a broken up pie crust? Because this was put in my baking box, and I forgot about it and piled stuff on top of it. Oops!

 

To make this pie, simply dip your cookies in milk and set them in your pie crust.  Don't rush the dipping in milk part or the pie will be a bit dry.

To make this pie, simply dip your cookies in milk and set them in your pie crust. Don’t rush the dipping in milk part or the pie will be a bit dry.

 

Yup, just pile them up like this.

Yup, just pile them up like this.

 

When you have enough cookies, gently press down on the top to remove the excess space between the cookies.

When you have enough cookies, gently press down on the top to remove the excess space between the cookies.

 

See?  The one on the left is the Chips Ahoy pie, and the one on the right used the Keebler cookies.  the Keebler one comes together just a tiny bit better.

See? The one on the left is the Chips Ahoy pie, and the one on the right used the Keebler cookies. the Keebler one comes together just a tiny bit better.  I covered these with plastic wrap and put them in the fridge.  THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT!  You must refrigerate the pie for at least a couple of hours, but it is ever so much better if you let it go for 8 hours or more.  Overnight is even better.

 

Next, I topped the pie with whipped cream (homemade, because it tastes so much better!).

After refrigerating the pie, it was ready to be topped with whipped cream (homemade, because it tastes so much better!).

 

I spread the whipped cream around...

I spread the whipped cream around…

 

And, Viola!  Two pies ready to go in the fridge or to serve!

And, Viola! Two pies ready to go in the fridge or to serve!

 

To make it look fancy, I crumbled one of the remaining cookies on top and drizzled some of my homemade Hershey's chocolate syrup (recipe here) on top.  It's not necessary for taste, but it looks so much nicer!

To make it look fancy, I crumbled one of the remaining cookies on top and drizzled some of my homemade Hershey’s chocolate syrup (recipe here) on top. It’s not necessary for taste, but it looks so much nicer!

 

We put some candles on, sang Happy Birthday, and ate this delicious pie.

We put some candles on, sang “Happy Birthday” to my son, and ate this delicious pie.

 

Do you have any delicious, bad for you, desserts you love to eat a few times a year?