Wednesday, November 27, 2013

An Amazing Mexican Thing

This is my first entry in Run Cook Eat Repeat. I may write about running and I may write about cooking from time to time. In a perfect world, it would happen on a regular basis. I hope to go back and do a couple of introductory entries, but today I'm going to write about a recipe I made for lunch.

It's called, An Amazing Mexican Thing:

Let me first say that I'm not Mexican, nor do I profess that this dish is authentic in any way, actually it's more the exact opposite, but I tried to use some key ingredients that would give it a Mexican-esque flair. This meal also falls under the category of Things I Make with Stuff in the Fridge and Pantry, so feel free to substitute any of the ingredients for things you may have in your house. After all, you are likely more qualified to throw something together on the fly than I am.

I'm inspired by my friend Tora, who has a blog called Tora's Real Food, and by my friend Jamie, who cooks great meals for her family and unlike me, plans ahead (you should see the photos she takes. They will make your heart melt). Since I fall under the heading of Terrified Cook, I usually try to recall a successful recipe I've used and then change it up a bit when I'm making something up. My pastry chef friend Hannah told me once, there are no new recipes, just existing ones that chef's have tweaked to make their own. I proudly consider myself a tweaker.

For this recipe, I recalled a delicious squash and black bean enchilada recipe that Jamie had sent to me, and changed it up to make it into something new. This one is definitely most easily made as a casserole, though you could also do it as enchiladas if you are not as lazy as I am.

This recipe can be easily made vegetarian, gluten free, low fat and/or vegan if you wish. If you want to make the recipe vegan, consider using bigger tortillas and adding the rice inside, to make burritos instead (since you won't want to use the cheese topping described below).


Protein (cut up protein into really small pieces)
Vegetables (chop up veg into really small pieces) Advice: the dish holds together best if you use some kind of cooked squash or cooked refried beans or cooked lentils. Cook whichever of these that you have around the house first so you can just add it in later.
Jalapeño - diced (you can remove the seeds but I leave them in for more heat)
Onion - diced (a whole onion is good, but you can use more or less)
Garlic - 1 clove works just fine - it's Mexican, not Italian
Olive Oil - a splash
Black Beans - a can or if you have dried beans, soak and use 12 oz-ish.
Rotel - a can (or make your own using tomatoes, more jalapeño and salt)
Cumin - 1 t.
Chili Powder -  1/2 t.
Corn Tortillas (or Flour Tortillas but I think they are kind of BS)
Enchilada Sauce or Salsa Rojo or Verde (also can make your own) - a can or jar's worth should do
Shredded Cheese - a ton
Salt and Pepper - to taste
Love - as much as you can give

Side Dish Ingredients:

Rice (leftover or make ahead - I find rice to be time consuming and annoying to make during the meal but that 's because I'm a really elementary level cook so the more I can do ahead, the higher my sanity level remains)
Corn, black beans and/or green onion to add to rice
Salad greens
Tortilla Chips
Balsamic Vinegar

First pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Then sauté whatever protein and/or vegetables you are going to use and put aside for a moment. I used leftover squash, broccoli and carrots. Then sauté the onion, garlic, jalapeño in some olive oil for a few minutes. Add the black beans (drained if you are using a can), rotel, chili powder, cumin. Then add the protein and veg. Taste it and add salt and pepper to taste. It will NOT taste as spicy as it's going to get so don't worry if it tastes relatively mild.

In a dish, start w/ a splash of enchilada sauce or salsa. Then add a layer of tortillas, followed by a layer of the filling. Add another layer of tortillas, a tiny bit of sauce, a layer of filling, and repeat till you reach a inch below the dish or run out of tortillas or filling. Cover this mess with a bit more sauce and shredded cheese. Then use some more cheese. Adding more cheese means you love the people with whom you are sharing the meal.

Place it into the oven and let it cook for 20 minutes. Let it sit for a few minutes before serving. It will look like a gross mess of cheese, but when you cut it open, if you're careful, you can serve it on a plate showing each pretty layer with colorful vegetables layered between saucy corn tortillas. Serve with rice that you can add corn, more beans and/or green onions to while it's heating up. Finish off the rice with a squeeze of lime and add a few more green onion slices to the top. Add a salad with a small handful of tortilla chips crushed over it and balsamic vinegar and you're ready to go with a super low brow but delicious sort of Mexican meal!  

This dish will taste even better in 2 days, so if you can make it ahead, cool it on the counter, then cover tightly and put it in your fridge. Heat it back up for dinner later in the week and the jalapeño will have had time to heat up the deliciousness and then sauce will have had time to soak into the tortillas. It will be reminiscent of Mexican road stand enchiladas served in those square waxed cardboard containers. So good!

NOTE: I am not a chef. I may or may not have forgotten ingredients, or the order in which you should cook this meal. It may turn out that you think it sucks. But I hope it goes well and that you tell me you like it.

Now I have got to go run this meal off. Thank for reading!

1 comment:

  1. Ok, I'm almost a "Martha" and your directions are hilarious sister! Once I got to the end I got the visual - like Mexican lasagna. It sounds really good. I'll try it.