Food blogging

Enchildadas I’ve been reading a lot of food blogs lately, and thinking, hey, I manage to slam dinner on the table a majority of nights a week, I could be a food blogger.

So here’s my attempt, breaking all the SVMoms blog posting rules in the process. For one, we don’t typically post recipes, we don’t want to be a recipe swapping site. For another, we try to focus on our struggles, not our wins; face it, struggles are funnier. But my attempt to be a food blogger would end quickly if I wrote about the night of the upside-down lasagna. (If really want to know the details about that one, ask my kids. But really, I swear, the floor had been recently washed with vinegar and water, so it was nontoxic and relatively clean.)

Anyway, here’s my food-blog post. Let’s call it “Chicken-Spinach Enchiladas: An Adventure in Weeknight Cooking.”

It all started on Tuesday. The plan was to have a classic family dinner, the kind I usually manage to pull together about twice a year, after feeling guilty about the amount of fast food and takeout we’d been doing.  I planned on roast chicken, garlic green beans, oven-roasted potatoes (aka “those French Fries you make, mom”), and a green salad with balsamic dressing.

Bogged down in a work project, I forgot to take the chicken out of the freezer until 3:30 pm, at which point I figured I’d use the cold-water defrost method. It didn’t work. At 5:00 the chicken was still a solid block of ice. I jammed a chisel into the cavity to try to dig out the various random chicken parts they stuff in there to make the thing weigh more; I figured these were slowing down the thawing process. And I prepared everything else and told the kids to have a snack, because dinner was going to be on the late side.

At 7 pm I served potatoes, garlic green beens, salad, and hot dogs. And I put the now-thawed chicken into the oven.

At 8:30 I pulled the lovely crispy-skinned chicken out of the oven. I admired it. This was definitely a picture perfect chicken. (Yeah, I know, as a food blogger this should have been a photo op. Sorry.) Unfortunately, my two kids had already had dinner and dessert and were  getting ready for bed. While they took baths, I looked through cookbooks for recipes involving leftover chicken.

My teen, who had been rehearsing for a show and hadn’t been expected home until much later, walks in the door. Typically, he gets a dinner break during the rehearsal. He didn’t this time, and he’s starved. I’m thrilled, I hadn’t put the chicken in the fridge yet, and I sliced off a few pieces for him and ate a bit of that crispy skin myself, since it had now been officially carved. I wrapped up the rest and put it in the fridge.

OK, now about those enchiladas. It’s two nights later, 5:30 p.m. It dawns on me that I have to have dinner on the table at 6:15 and cleared by 6:35 to fit it into the evening’s schedule. I remember the chicken and pull out the cookbooks again. A recipe for Chicken Enchiladas in Desperation Dinners looks interesting.

The recipe calls for one can of white-meat chicken. But since I have no idea how much chicken is in a can, I just hack at the leftover chicken until I get bored. I end up with a heap of chicken meat on the cutting board, but a lot more still on the chicken; looks like we’ll be having chicken for dinner tomorrow, too. The recipe also calls for mild green tomatillo sauce. Needless to say, I don’t have any. What I do have is half a bag of frozen spinach. It’s green, so I dump it into a bowl and heat in the microwave. The recipe also calls for beans and rice; I don’t think I’ve ever had beans and rice inside an enchilada, usually they’re on the side, so I don’t even bother to look.

I throw the cut up chicken and heated spinach into a bowl. The recipe says to add 1/3 cup sour cream, so I scoop a couple of spoonfuls out of the container and throw them into the bowl.  (Why dirty a measuring cup?)

I zap a baking pan with cooking spray and slop scoops of the chicken mixture onto five tortillas. (I made five because there are five people in my family and it’s a habit, even though my husband won’t be home for dinner.) Now the recipe says to top these with grated Mexican cheese. I don’t have that. What I do have is a big plastic bag of cheese slices left over from a deli tray from a fundraiser. I rip a stack of cheese slices into scraps and put them on top of the chicken mixture. I wrap the tortillas and place in them in the pan, seam side down.

Then, sort of following the recipe, I toss a couple of spoonfuls of sour cream, a spoonful of mayonnaise, and a couple of spoonfuls of salsa into a bowl and mix well. This oddly pink goop goes on top of the rolled tortillas.

I decide to rip up some more cheese slices and layer them on top.

I bake it covered at 400 for 15 minutes. This was probably too long. I uncover it and brown the cheese for another 5 minutes.

And….ta da! It looks and smells gorgeous, but I have to change the kids’ knives to sharper ones because they complain that the tortilla on the bottom is really hard and they can’t cut it. Still, in the end, I feel like Sally Field (“You like me!”) when kids say that in spite of the burnt bottom they really really like this and I should make it again.

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