Wednesday, February 19, 2014

San Diego cooking, part 2 (featuring enchiladas)

(See part 1 here and part 3 here).

After a few days at Dad's, I've moved on to my step-sister Heather's house. I hate calling her my step-sister instead of sister, but I guess you have to sometimes, as someone asked us yesterday how we could be siblings but only be 3 months apart in age.

Like mother like daughter, Heather is a great cook in her own right. I had to learn how to make her famous enchiladas. So we cooked it together, while Heather made her older daughter, Aubrey, a separate dinner of spaghetti and meatballs. All of this motherhood multitasking is seriously insane to me.

As I was tearing the meat off the rotisserie chicken, I told Heather how Sharon and I always call it "space chicken," because the plastic lid makes it look like the chicken is about to lift off into space. We also made strawberry dip for dessert. Below is Aubrey showing her appreciation.

A few things I learned:

  • You don't always have to use every ingredient or measure everything super precisely. This is especially true for casserole-type recipes. We were left with a little more enchilada sauce in the can, but trying to use it all would have just made the recipe unnecessarily soupy. If we have leftover chicken, we can put it in a broth or use it for a sandwich for lunch the next day. These opportunities will come up a lot more as I cook more frequently.
  • I can branch out from existing recipes. I'm a huge veggie fan (as evidenced by putting together a salad the other day), so I can easily dream up versions of this recipe that incorporate green onions, bell peppers, etc.
  • I'm learning to keep diligent notes, as the two recipes I've done so far in San Diego came from cooks who have it memorized. Combined with my bad memory, I guess I'm just a process-focused person who likes documentation. Hopefully the recipe below is a faithful re-creation.


Vegetable oil
12 corn tortillas
Rotisserie chicken
Green enchilada sauce, 28-oz can 
Shredded Mexican-blend cheese
Diced green chilies -- two small cans
Black olives -- large can

Heat oil in a small saucepan. Fry the tortillas one at a time, flipping on each side, until they are hard. Shake the oil off before setting aside on a plate covered in a paper towel.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pull apart the meat from the rotisserie chicken into medium chunks. In a 12-inch pan, combine the following into three layers of approximately the same height: tortillas (break apart if need to fill in corners/sides), cheese, chicken, chilies, olives, and enchilada sauce. Top the final layer with a good amount of cheese and sprinkle enchilada sauce on top of that. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling. Let stand 5-10 minutes, then serve. Feeds 4-5.

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