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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Enchilada Casserole or How I learned to stop worrying about stale tortillas

Here's the thing, to make proper enchiladas you need nice fresh corn tortillas. I check grocery store tortillas by bending them back and forth in the package and checking that they are pliable and not crumbly, but every once in awhile you still get home with a bad batch. This happened to me last week, as I prepared to briefly soak the tortillas in chili powder and water and then fry them in oil to make my normal enchiladas. These things were falling apart! So I did what any Mom pressed for time and trying to make dinner would do. I said some curse words under my breath and started throwing the tortillas into the 9 x 13 pan and scowling while I came up with a plan.

This is what I did. From left to right I placed a bowl of water mixed with a tablespoon (or so) of chili powder, for dipping the tortillas. Then on a hot burner I had some vegetable oil going over medium high heat, then on the counter next to that I had my 9 x 13 pan, one small bowl of chopped onions and a bag of Mexican shredded cheese. Dip tortillas into chili-water mixture and then let drip dry over bowl of water before adding to hot oil. Use tongs! Oil may splatter! Let it fry briefly and if you have nice fresh tortillas you can flip them over to cook on the other side before placing in pan and rolling up around filling of cheese and onions and placing the enchiladas seam side down and side by side in the pan. If you have crazily falling apart tortillas, press them down into the oil to cook all over and scoop them carefully out of the oil and into the pan, spreading them out to completely cover the bottom of the pan. When pan is covered with tortillas cover all with shredded cheese and chopped onions and add another layer of fried tortillas on top of that then add more cheese and onions and top all with a final layer of tortillas. Take one small can of your favorite chili and mix it with the leftover chili water, or use leftover chili, or use a can of hot dog chili. If you seem to have forgotten to get any chili even though you had specifically PLANNED to make enchiladas that night and had it written down and everything but apparently have LOST YOUR DAMN MIND, mix some cooked beans with what is left in a frozen seasoning packet that contained chopped onions, peppers and celery, saute that all together, open some tomato sauce and throw that in with the chili water and then some more chili powder and some salt for good measure. Pour that over top of the whole pan and then top with some more cheese. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, then remove foil and let brown on top for 5 minutes. Pray for a miracle and serve with sauteed or steamed yellow squash and a small salad.

Eat! Be amazed this whole mess worked out well! Goggle as the kids actually ask for seconds, resolve to be more careful when purcahaing tortillas in the future.

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