What’s for Dinner?
Something must be wrong with me if I can’t figure out what to make for dinner. I have a ‘frige full of food and a pantry even more full. So why can’t I figure out what to make? I get in ruts sometimes. I look through cook books and on-line recipes but I need a special cut of meat or a special kind of rice or spice I’m out of. You would think that with all the food shown in these pictures I could feed an army…something!
So what do I have? There’s milk, eggs, cheese, tortillas, celery, sweet potatoes, Yukon Gold potatoes, apples, onions. tomatoes, grapes, all the condiments and salad dressings, enchilada sauce, olives, and carrots. In the freezer I have tilapia, chicken and an assortment of vegetables. The pantry is full of soups and sauces, seasoning packets, pasta and all kinds of boxed side dishes like mac and cheese, spanish rice, and instant potatoes.
I’m starting to get an idea that something Mexican and spicy will be the thing to do. Between the enchilada sauce, chicken, tortillas, and rice, it’s looking like some enchiladas stuffed with chicken and vegetables will come to being with a side of rice and beans. Yeah, that’s all I needed to do was to take inventory to come up with something really warming and something to really spice things up a bit on this cold dreary and uninspiring day.
OK, so I’ll need to thaw two (they are very big) breasts of chicken (there might be four for dinner tonight). Then I will bake them for about thirty minutes at 350° while I slice and cook the vegetables. The traditional carrots, celery, and onion which some call the “Holy Trinity” of cooking is how I’ll start. I slice them all and heat them on high with a little olive oil and a clove or two of minced garlic. As I smell these aromatic vegetables cooking the inspiration is flooding the kitchen. The oven is warm and warming up my spirits as well. Jeff and Julia will be home soon and the warmth and aromas will be a nice welcome in from out of the rain for them. There is a slight chance that after work, Bonnie will be able to pop in for dinner before she goes out-of-town for a wedding, so I’ll make enough for her just in case.
The veggies are now done, the chicken is out of the oven and needs to rest a while. I transfer them to a plate and rush them along a bit in the frige (don’t ask me where I found room). I start on the rice now and it turns out to be rice and vermicelli (what the heck, it says it’s Spanish) I now need to dice up the chicken, open a can of refried beans, heat them, finish the filling, and assemble the enchiladas.
I pour a bit of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of the casserole pan then I roll up a good spoonful of the mixture I’ve just warmed up again, into each tortilla. Placing them seams down in the casserole, I crowd them together so I can fit eight of them in. Success! Now, I’ll add more sauce over the top to coat the tortillas so they won’t get crunchy, then I’ll shred a few ounces of cheddar cheese over the dish. Back into the oven they go for about fifteen minutes or so at 350°. This time gives the rice/vermicelli a chance to fully cook and everything magically comes together in the end. We plate up and eat to our hearts content.
Bonnie left, Jeff and Julia go off to choir, and bell choir practices, and I get to sit here in peace and blog…Now if only I could psychically will Jeff to bring home some ice cream…that would make everything go from a culinary rut to total perfection.