Let’s take it back to 1997 y’all!

If old is new, then I feel newer every day!

Back in my college days, me and my boy Jason M. would come home from class all hungry and just hook up massive plates of enchiladas.  I think that was like one of the first dishes I started cooking on a regular basis.  I have no idea why we chose enchiladas when mostly we made Kung Fu ramen noodles and Totino’s pizzas?  Guess we thought it made us fancy.  

For years after that, if I wanted to impress a girl, I’d invite her over and cook that dish.  Thing is, I didn’t know how to cook anything else so it only worked that one time.  I didn’t even make side dishes.  Just be like “Pow! Enchiladas! I’m only half Mexican! You get half a Mexican dinner.  You like that authentic Mexican beverage?  We call it, agua…”

Now, this was back before all those cool cooking channels and Youtube videos, so for real, we learned by reading the directions on the back of the enchilada sauce can and figuring out the rest on our own.  From there, we would just add our own style and whatever fillings we could think of.  We would do normal stuff like chicken and beef but when we were broke and couldn’t afford that, we would rummage the shelves and get creative.  Stuff like canned lamb that our Fijian friend left behind or corned beef got tossed in.  Shout out to Ox & Palm brand, the best damn corned beef on the planet!

So in a throwback to 1997, I’m gonna bring back me and Jason’s enchiladas and a few of my favorite sides, which I make now.  I’m still half Mexican but my style has evolved…a little…I still wear my hats broke of sideways from time to time.  And I still love Too $hort, that dirty filthy dude.  You should be gettin’ it!

J&M’s Enchiladas

These are pretty easy to make but kind of labor intensive because you have to sit there and roll each little tortilla by hand.  Plus unless you want the dang things to fall apart, you have to heat up the tortillas first so they are flexible.  Otherwise, if you roll them cold, the tortillas are all stiff and break apart. So when you make this, just give yourself time or you will get frustrated if you try and rush it.  I went with chicken and green sauce for this dish because I love tomatillos.   

  • Chicken thighs -6 (I don’t mess with the breast unless I’m cooking for someone I don’t like.)
  • Pack of corn tortillas (I don’t recommend flour.  It soaks up the sauce and gets all soggy.)
  • 1 big can and 1 small can of green tomatillo enchilada sauce
  • Cheese (I used some smoked Colby jack that I made, but any grated cheese you like is fine.)
  • 1 pack taco seasoning
  • ½ onion, fine chopped
  • Vegetable oil or cooking spray
  • Small can of sliced olives (or as my kids called them when they were smaller “zeroes”)

*Long Directions Alert! Sorry, can’t be avoided!*

First you want to cook the chicken and onions.  Set the stove top to medium high and when it’s heated, pour in a capful of cooking oil and let it get hot for about 1 minute.  Then toss in the onions and sauté for like 2-3 minutes.  From there add in the chicken, the taco seasoning, and pour in a quarter cup of water and cook until complete.  You may have to add a little more water from time to time because it will steam off, but that’s ok.  When it’s done, remove from heat and set aside to cool for like 10 minutes. After it’s cooled, chop the meat up into small pieces and place in a bowl. 

Next, heat a skillet to medium high and place as many tortillas on there as you can. Just make sure they can lay flat and all get warmed evenly.  Let them sit on one side for about a minute, then flip it over and let it heat on that side for another minute.  Or, if you want, you can put them in the microwave 6 tortillas at a time for like 40 seconds. Place the warmed tortillas on a plate and wrap them in a paper towel so they stay warm while you heat the rest.  When those are done, go get a Pyrex dish and pour in about 2 capfuls of vegetable oil.  Using a paper towel spread the oil around the Pyrex, getting the sides too.  This keeps the food from sticking to the dish and kind of crisps up the corners which is a nice texture difference.  Or if you have cooking spray, use that. 

When you have heated up all the tortillas and greased up your Pyrex nice and slippy (bad joke alert that I will avoid), fill a small plate with some of the sauce and dip each side of the tortilla in the sauce.  Transfer the tortilla to another plate, fill with a spoonful of chicken and onion spread it in the tortilla, then roll up.  Place each rolled up tortilla in the Pyrex. It doesn’t really matter which direction you place them, just so you maximize the space in your Pyrex dish.  Lastly, pour the remaining sauce all over the enchiladas, sprinkle the cheese and olives.  Then, go preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.  Once the oven is heated, place the enchiladas inside and cook for 20 to 25 minutes.  The food is ready when the cheese is melted and the sauce on the edges begins to bubble and boil a little.  Now, I like my cheese a bit darker and my enchilada edges crispy so I keeps it in for like 5-10 minutes longer.  But that’s just me.

Beans and Rice Rice Baby!

Ok so, yes, I do have recipes for bad ass black beans and Spanish rice from scratch.  But! To be honest, if I’m making enchiladas, dude, that’s work enough!  So to save time I like to just go with canned black beans and a box of Goya brand Spanish rice.  I will do full on scratch recipes for beans and rice later.  I do like to dress up the beans with some fresh chopped onion, a little cilantro and cotija cheese.  So, if you like, you can do that too.  I added it in the instructions.  If not, then just skip that part.

  • 1 can of whole cooked black beans.
  • ¼ onion fine chopped
  • Small bunch of cilantro fine chopped (6 full long stalks, is that what it’s called? Stalks? Blades of cilantro?  I need to learn my vegie vocab.)
  • ½ cup crumbled cotija cheese
  • Salt added to taste (basically put in enough salt to where it tastes good to you.)

Cook the beans over medium high heat in a small sauce pot until hot.  Transfer to a small bowl and add the cilantro, onion and cheese.

For the rice, just cook it how the box tells you to.  I like Goya but Rice-A-Roni or whatever you dig is cool.  When that’s done, just put it in a bowl.

Man that was a long one to write!  The point is, it’s kind of easy to make once you prep all the enchilada stuff but it takes some work to get it done.  However, I will say, it’s worth the work you put in.  Just think of all those girls who had a really good dinner, that one time…

Until next week, have fun with this and take it slow.  Things didn’t turn out perfect for me the first time either.  Stay cool and I catch you later.

A pot of chickens

 Warm it up Chris! That’s what I was born to do!

 In the mix with the chix.

Warm chile bath

Fill and let’s roll!

 It’s getting closer

Look at those cheesy zeroes

 Just thought I’d throw this in, for YEARS, I called this Cojita cheese, it means something quite different…

Fresh out the oven!  I’m getting hungry.

1 plate up! Drink, always nearby.

 I just wanted to get one last look before this gets in my belly!

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