Enchiladas Suizas de Pollo / Chicken Enchiladas Suizas
This is one of Hubs’ favorite dinners. It’s also a Kitchen Destroyer (TM), so I don’t make it often. When Hubs batting his lashes and pulling the pouty fish-lips face at me finally wears me down and I do make enchiladas, it’s big, double batch. If you’re talking about this much clean-up, I’m all about the going of the big or not going at all.
Just remember the wise words of Mrs. Gregory, your 8th grade Home Ec. teacher, who advised all you little punks to “clean up as you go, ladies!” (What? I grew up in the 1980’s; electives still had very defined gender-biased DMZ’s.) I know you turned your back and rolled the heck out of your eyes at the poor old bat back then. So, yeah, it’s gonna suck a little bit when I tell you: Mrs. Gregory was right. Clean as you go, or you’re going to be standing over a sudsy sink straight through all the best after-dinner primetime sitcoms. Lame.
Hey, by the way? Don’t fear the Jalapeno. (Also? I’m not going to figure out how to make the tilded “n”, so just imagine that it’s there.) The base recipe for these enchiladas is mild. No, seriously. It’s not spicy at all. Not even a little bit. Like, the people of Phoenix would be all, “LAWLZ! I think I have heatstroke again cuz I don’t taste nothin’!” while the fine folks of Fargo would be like, “Ooh, yah, this is quite tasty.” If you tend to like a mild spice profile, follow what I’ve written. Even the Jalapeno part. Trust The Sadie.
If you prefer a medium kick, add another Jalapeno and/or sub a couple Serranos instead of Jalapenos, and/or sub 25-30% of the Monterey Jack cheese for Pepper Jack cheese. This is what I do, although my fellow Phoenicians, the Albu-quirkies, and the San Antoners undoubtedly would find it too mild still. Aaaaand they’d call me a wuss. Sun-addled Southwesterners, I tell ya…
If you like your food to cause spontaneous tongue-ular combustion (yow! sizzle for me, you sexy beast!), sub out the Jalapenos for a Habanero or a Scotch Bonnet and/or sub 50-65% of the cheese for Pepper Jack. In fact, if you’re in this camp, you probably already know how to make enchiladas. Your abuelita taught you, didn’t she? Mhmm. What the heck are you reading my uber gringa-fied recipe for, then?!
Now, I know this seems like a time-killing, mess-creating monster meal, and that there are plenty of simpler recipes online that suggest using shortcut ingredients. Shortcuts can be a home cook’s salvation. I use them all the time, myself; there’s (at least) one in this recipe! And, honestly? If the quandary of whether or not to use a shortcut is what’s keeping you out of the kitchen… Dude. Sub it out and get in the game. To paraphrase the great Julia Child: when you’re alone in the kitchen, nobody can see what you do.
However, shortcuts can run all over you and your food like spoiled toddlers cracked out on sugar soda if you don’t employ a firm hand with them. Jarred sauces, canned condensed soups, bagged chips, and those roasted chickens from that weird stand in the dead area near the deli counter might be alright if used singly. One shortcut. Pick the one that helps you the most. Use them all at once, and suddenly you’re fighting salt, sugar, and a list of scary chemicals you can’t even hope to pronounce. Your time, your health, and your wallet (oh, hello there, sad Mr. Wallet) would all be better off if you just grabbed a family-sized tray of Stouffer’s frozen enchiladas.
But you’re not going to do that! You’re going to make them (mostly) from scratch, and I’m cheerleading you all the way. Okay! Y’all ready? Let’s do this!
- 3lbs chicken meat (light, dark, a blend of the two… whatever your family likes). Bone-in/skin-on meat works best, but you can cut your meat cooking and your chicken-pickin’ times both in half by using boneless/skinless pieces.
- 1 large carrot, rough chopped (peel it if you want; I don’t)
- 2 stalks of celery, rough chopped
- 2 large yellow onions (Texas Sweet Yellow also works well, but a true Vidalia is too sweet). Chop one into quarters; dice the other.
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium-large green Jalapeno chile pepper (smaller ones are hotter; red ones tend to be hotter), seeded, deveined (the seeds and veins contain most of the heat), and minced
- 2 7 oz. cans mild green chiles, diced (typically made from Hatch chile varieties, which have a Scoville similar to a Pimiento or a Cubanelle. In other words, they’re barely scarier than a Bell Pepper, so be cool, man. Be cool… like a Hatch chile.)
- 3 1/2C chicken broth/stock (reserved from poaching the chicken meat)
- 2T butter
- 2T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 4T AP flour
- 1C Half+Half or heavy cream (whatever you put in your coffee is fine)
- 16 oz. sour cream
- 3C Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
- 24-36 5-inch corn tortillas (I used exactly 30 tortillas between the two pans I made)
- Cooking oil for frying the tortillas (Not olive oil! Its flash point is too low for frying. You need veg oil or corn oil or whatever it is you fry in for this)
- Optional: 1C additional shredded Monterey Jack cheese (for topping)
- Optional: 1/2C or so of shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (for topping)
- Salt and pepper
- a few dashes of Smoky Paprika
- a few squirts of lime juice
- coarse chopped fresh Cilantro (for garnish)
1. Fill a large stock pot (I used my 8qt) with the chicken meat, carrot, celery, quartered onion, salt and pepper (to taste), and enough water that the contents are well covered and float freely. Bring to a rolling boil. Reduce heat to simmer for 30-40 minutes (boneless skinless) / 60-75 minutes (bone-in skin-on). Don’t forget to strain and reserve the brothy poaching liquid afterward! You’ll need it!
2. Use the discarded boiled veg to have a food fight with your husband, whom you’ve now hooked into helping you with promises of beer and gut-busting eats.
3. Shred or cube your chicken meat.
4. In a large pan (I used my 12”), chop and drop your other onion, the garlic, the Jalapeno, and salt and pepper. Sweat out in a bit of EVOO until garlic is fragrant and onion is just beginning to get tender; should only be a minute or so on medium heat.
5. Add chicken meat to the onion pan. Crank up the burner a bit, and pour in 1C of reserved broth. Should be just enough to moisten everything. Hit it with a couple dashes of Smoky Paprika. Stir in the Half+Half. Let the mixture get good and hot. Gently fold in one of the cans of diced green chile peppers. Hit the whole pan with a few dribbles of lime juice; you’re not looking for lime-flavored chicken but merely to brighten and enhance the mixture as a whole. Turn off heat and set aside. Don’t stress out if it seems a bit soupy. There’s a fine bit of fatty protein in there, and that will cause it to tighten up as it sits. The chicken will absorb some of the liquid, as well (this double-duties as a clever trick for those of us who use only white meat, which has a bent of going dry if you just look at it askance in the wrong light on a day that ends in “Y”).
6. In a small frying pan (I used my 8”, but a 6” would work just as well), heat half an inch or so of cooking oil until the surface of the oil shimmers (a riot of fine bubbles should form around the handle of a wooden spoon if you immersed it). While the oil heats, set yourself up an assembly line of stack of raw tortillas, hot pan, paper towels for draining, and plate of cooked tortillas. Using tongs, GENTLY lay tortillas one at a time into hot oil. Fry 10-15 seconds on each side. Do NOT allow tortillas to become crisp; you just want to expose ‘em to enough heat that you change the molecular structure of the corn so that it holds together — instead of crumbling, as they do when entirely raw — when you fill and roll later. Add oil as needed, making sure to bring the pan back up to temp if you do. Flip-flop each cooked tortilla on paper towels to wick away excess oil. Stack. Repeat. This process is, by far, the sketchiest part of the show (hot oil and you gotta be quick… ugh, rough combo), but you’ll get into a groovy muscle-memory rhythm the longer you go. Just don’t let your 2-beers-in Hubs distract you with his kitchen clownery.
7. In a very large frying pan (I used my trusty 13” chicken fryer), over medium-high, heat up butter and olive oil until butter is frothy. Sprinkle in flour, and stir vigorously into a paste (a roux). Cook for about a minute. While stirring (or whisking), add 2 1/2C reserved broth, and keep stirring until smooth. Reduce heat to as low as your burner will go; we need the heat to melt the cheese that’s coming, but we’re risking splitting the sauce (fat solids separate from liquid components in a grease-slick disgusting mess, and there’s no repairing it once it happens) by having any heat under the sour cream once it goes in. VERY low heat. You can do this. Just keep stirring; that helps. Add sour cream and blend in completely. Add 3C Monterey Jack cheese a couple handfuls at a time, making sure each batch is totally melted and blended in before adding more. Your sauce should be sort of pancake batter thick and just briefly hold soft strings when you lift the utensil away. Turn off heat — whew. Fold in other can of diced green chiles and a pinch or two of Smoky Paprika. Also adjust salt and pepper if needed.
8. Preheat oven to 350F.
9. Assembly line time again! On a nice open workspace, set up your cooked tortillas, cooked chicken mixture, cheese sauce, two baking pans, and some sort of cutting board or plate on which to fill and roll the tortillas. Baste the bottoms of your baking pans (I used two 10x13 glass casseroles) with a thin layer of cheese sauce. Fill each tortilla with a bit of chicken mixture (it’s probably in the 1/3C neighborhood, but I just wing it using my cupped palm as a guide). Dollop with cheese sauce. Roll into a loose tube. Lay seam side down into tray. Repeat. Cover rows of rolled tortillas with remaining cheese sauce. This will be cheesy already, but if you’re a sucker, like I am, for the browned bubbly crack of the food kingdom that is cooked cheese topping, sprinkle with the optional additional Jack and Cheddar cheeses.
10. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until enchiladas are heated through and top is golden brown and delicious. Slice and serve topped with a bit of the coarse chopped cilantro that you thought I forgot about.
Feeds: 10-12 hungry piggies.
Serve with: something green and leafy or fibrous or cruciferous because green is good, blah blah, snore. And also? Because “cruciferous” is an awesomely healthified word that will impress your doctor/personal trainer/mom/all of the above.
Note: these are by no means diet enchiladas. Dang. I couldn’t even type that with a straight face. Yeaaaahhhh… Not at all happy heart diet food. If you need to reduce the cheese and/or sour cream that goes into the cheese sauce, slightly increase the butter/oil/flour that goes into making the roux, and then bump up volume of chicken broth (that goes into the roux) roughly equal to the amount of cheese/sour cream you subtracted. You can certainly use low-fat and non-fat cheese and sour cream varieties, as well.
Go wash the dishes. Sheesh. You sure can wreck a kitchen, can’t you?
Pork Chops with Marsala Pan Gravy
If your household is anything like mine, you can probably relate to doing that endless dinner cycle of “chicken, chicken, beef, pasta, leftovers, chicken, chicken, oops we should eat some fish once in a while, chicken, beef, pasta, chicken.” If and when I make pork, it’s a fabulous (read: kitchen destructorama) affair of medallions and smoky whiskey sauce, or a loin roast, or BBQ pulled-pork. I don’t make a lot of pork chops because they always seem to sit limp and sad on the plate. Just pork chops. Ho-hum.
Hubs wanted pork chops, though. He must have been craving them, since he zombie-walked right to the pork counter in the grocery store when I’d sent him out for coffee fixins. When he returned, he laid down the flat of meat with a shy smile, and said, “These followed me home. Can you do something with them? Not fancy! Just a good ol’ pork-n-taters dinner.”
How can I say no to that?
So, don’t let the title fool you. Or the ingredients, for that matter. This is a not-fancy, rut defying, good old fashioned pork-n-taters dinner with just a hint of snazzed up to keep the ho-hum beastie at bay. The “recipe” came together straight out of my head (I only wrote it down here, after the fact — seat of my pants, I tell ya!), and was based entirely on things I already had in the pantry and fridge… Er, plus the pork chops that had magically leapt into Hubs’ shopping basket, of course.
- 4 Pork Chops
- 1 medium Shallot, finely diced (or half of a very mild onion; Texas Sweet Yellow, Vidalia, or a plain white onion all work well, too)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Dash or two of Poultry Seasoning
- 1/4t dried Thyme leaves (1/2t or so if you use fresh Thyme, chopped)
- 2T Unsalted Butter (you can use sweet cream/salted butter if that’s what’s in your fridge; just watch the salt you add later)
- 2T Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus a bit for cooking
- 4T AP Flour
- 1/3C Marsala Wine (cooking sherry or a drinkable, off-the-shelf white wine would also do, but will change the flavor profile a bit)
- 2 14.5oz. cans Reduced Sodium Chicken Broth (less if you don’t like as much smothery gravy goodness as we do; see note at end)
- Lemon Juice (for drizzling)
- Option: 3lbs. Russet Potatoes, peeled, cubed, boiled, and mashed to your taste
- Option: Mixed Green Side Salad (veggies good, blah blah blah)
- Rinse and pat dry your pork chops. Sprinkle both sides with salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning. Yep. Poultry seasoning. In cooking, pork truly is “the other white meat”, and you treat it similarly to the way you treat chicken and turkey.
- In a high-sided frying pan large enough to hold all 4 chops without crowding (I used my 13” fryer), dribble just enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Set it over Med-High heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, carefully lay the chops in. You should be rewarded with a distinct “sizzle hiss” as each piece goes in; just watch for oil spitting. Reduce heat to Medium and leave the meat alone. Don’t fuss at it and don’t smoosh at it with your spatula. Just let it do its thing.
- Note that cooking time will vary greatly depending on the thickness of your chops and whether or not they have the bone! Mine were no-frills, neither thick-cut nor thin, and were bone-in. The cheap stuff, yes! Exactly! So, if you’re using a couponer’s special pack of meat like mine, you’ll cook the chops on the first side for about 8 minutes, or until the meat has that perfect swirling pattern of deep golden brown. Flip and cook on the second side about 4 minutes (the pass on the first side actually cooked the meat 2/3 of the way through, so stay on your toes now). Remove cooked chops to a plate.
Boneless loin chops will take less time, as will any thin-cut. Thick-cut bone-ins will take longer, and probably require backing off to a Medium-Low heat.
- If you’re going to make mashed potatoes (that’s what the fluffy white deliciousness is in my picture), somewhere in here is the time to peel them, cube them (don’t stress out; I’m not going to sic Anne Burrell on you! Just a rough 3/4”-1” whack jobby with the knife is fine), and get them in the water and onto the stove. They’ll need to come up to a rolling boil and then stay boiling for a good 14-15 minutes. Time it out however it works best for you, or bribe a teenager to help while you move on to the gravy steps.
- In the same pan you cooked the meat in, drizzle a little more oil (if needed), and drop your finely diced shallot. Sprinkle with just the tiniest bit of salt (it’s about layers of flavor, y’all. trust me on this one). Sweat out over a Medium/Medium-Low heat until the shallot goes translucent.
- Push shallot bits to one side of the pan, and add the 2T butter and 2T olive oil. When the butter begins to froth, add the flour and mix into a paste. Allow paste to cook out for about 1 minute. Add Marsala, and stir furiously to combine with the paste. When smooth, add both cans of broth, again stirring/whisking to break any lumps that might try to form, and be sure to pick up all the nice fond that formed on the bottom of the pan when you fried off the meat.
- Reduce heat to a low, slow simmer. Salt and pepper to taste. Add your thyme. Return pork to pan.
- Go make your salad and/or mash your taters. Go on, now. You can’t just sit down to a pile of meat like a bunch of cavemen, you goofball! You need something to go with it, and a salad will make your mom proud of you. I’ll wait.
- In about 10 minutes, the gravy should have reduced a bit (not a ton), and thickened and tightened. Allowing the chops to come back to temp and then sit in the simmering gravy should have helped infuse the meat with flavor and tenderize it somewhat (particularly helpful trick if you are, indeed, using the cheap meat like I am). Give the gravy a taste, and adjust salt and pepper accordingly.
- Turn off heat under your meat-gravy pan. Drizzle with lemon juice (I use a squeezy bottle rather than fresh, but it’s probably a little less than the equivalent of half a small lemon’s worth of juice). Don’t add lemon with the heat going! It can easily and very quickly turn the juice bitter.
Yield: 4 portions of meat and lots of gravy (we like a lot of gravy here). If you made a 3# or, heck, a 5# sack of Russets, though, you should have plenty of potatoes and gravy for a “leftover surprise” or even a meatloaf dinner tomorrow. If you don’t like a lot of gravy, no probs! Just cut the broth, wine, butter, oil, and flour all in half.
My husband is first generation born in this country; his family is Danish. Every now and then, he gets nostalgic for the dishes his mother and eldest sister made when he was a child. Unfortunately, I don’t know a Lingonberry from an eye booger, and stick mainly to cooking in my comfort zone: Italian, French, and Mexican. Poor Hubs!
This recipe, which I modified from a segment featured on The Chew in February, was so easy, and had so few ingredients and procedures (especially compared with the kitchen-destroying ventures of my French concoctions), I thought it would be a great place for me to jump in. A Danish Cooking for Dimwits, if you will.
Except it’s Swedish.
Shhhh! Details… We don’t need no stinkin’ details!
Ingredients - Meatballs
- 2.5lbs Ground Beef (80/20 is fine)
- 1/2C breadcrumbs
- 1 large Onion, finely chopped (baseball-sized or larger, or use 2 smallish onions)
- 2 Cloves Garlic, minced (or grated)
- 2 large Eggs, beaten
- 1/2t ground Black Pepper
- 1/2t Salt
- 1/4t ground Nutmeg (or grated)
- 1/4t ground Allspice
- 2T dried Parsley
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (for sauteing)
- Salt and Pepper to taste (for sauteing)
Directions - Meatballs
- This is a one skillet prep, so start with the largest frying/saute pan you have; I used my 13-inch. Over Medium heat, add 1-1.5T Olive Oil. When it’s shimmery and hot, add finely chopped onion and minced garlic. Add salt and pepper to your taste. Sweat out until onions are just translucent and garlic has a slightly golden tinge. Remove from pan and allow to cool.
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine meat, breadcrumbs, eggs, salt, pepper, nutmeg, allspice, parsley, and the cooled onion and garlic. Don’t overwork your meat or it’ll turn tough! Just combine it. Now stop. That’s enough.
- Line a jelly roll sheet pan or 2 half-sheet pans (a jelly roll pan is a cookie sheet with a shallow lip on it; you want a lip!) with aluminum foil, parchment paper, rub it with butter, or spray it with cooking spray. Whatever you do to prep whatever rolled-lip pan you like using so junk doesn’t stick to it… Do that.
- Roll meat mixture into 1.5-2” balls (a little larger than a walnut in its hull, but slightly smaller than a golf ball), and place evenly on tray. Or just chuck ‘em on there. They don’t really puff up much, and it’s not like you’re going to hurt the meat’s feelings. Try not to overcrowd too much, though; it creates a lot of grease in one pan, and that gets sketchy to move from the oven.
- Bake meatballs to desired doneness (roughly 20 minutes for a solid medium).
Note: You could sear off the meatballs in the pan and then transfer to the baking sheet to finish cooking through in the oven. I don’t do it that way for a couple reasons. First, if I’m ever sainted, my name will be “Our Lady of the Eternal Laziness”; I’ll do just about anything to get around cleaning food blurpies (technical term) off my tumbled marble backsplash. Secondly, the meatballs render quite a bit of fat, especially if you use 80/20 or 70/30 meat; sure, you can wipe out the pan before you start your sauce, but you’ll lose all that lovely fond you built up in the bottom from the onions, garlic, and now the meat if you do.
Meanwhile, we have yummy sauce to make!
Ingredients - Sauce
- 2T Unsalted Butter (you can use sweet cream/salted butter, just watch it with the salt you add later)
- 2T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 4T AP Flour
- 2 14.5oz cans Reduced Sodium Beef Broth
- 1/2C Half+Half or Heavy Cream
- 1/2C Sour Cream (there’s quite a bit of wiggle room here, so if you feel like you’d prefer more sour creaminess, by all means, add more)
- 1.5T dried Parsley
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Optional: 12oz.-16oz. bag of Egg Noodles
Directions - Sauce
- If you’re going to serve the meatballs over egg noodles, as I did, this would be a good time to lug out your pasta pentola and get the water going.
- Remember that pan we used to sweat out the onion and garlic? You thought I’d forgotten about it, didn’t you? Mhmm. In that same pan, over Medium, heat butter and olive oil til butter is melted and just beginning to froth. Add flour and stir into a paste. Allow paste to cook out for about a minute. Crank heat up to High/Med-High. Add beef broth while stirring or whisking vigorously. Reduce heat to Low/Med-Low so sauce is just simmering. Reduce by maybe 30%; should take 5 minutes or so.
- Pssst… I bet your water’s boiling. Drop your pasta.
- Once the sauce has reduced and tightened up some, whisk in the half+half (or heavy cream), and let simmer another minute or two. Now, turn off the burner. If you leave the heat on under the pan when you add the sour cream, the fat solids and oils will separate resulting in an ugly yuck-a-mess called a “split sauce.” You don’t want that. Turn it off. Add sour cream and whisk like crazy to get it all incorporated and smooth. Add parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.
- By now, your meatballs are probably done, and your oven has belched out enough repeat bleat alerts that you’re answering it back (“I heard you the first time. Shush up!”). Go get the meatballs, and lay them in the sauce mixture. Yes, a little bit of the grease is fine, too, but not all of it! Use a spatula, you nut. And be gentle; the meatballs are a little fragile now, and will crumble apart if you’re impatient with them.
- Serve over egg noodles with something green on the side so, you know, you don’t feel like a total piggy-oink.
Yield: 6-8 portions, depending on what you serve with it and how many Nordic God eating machines you have at your table.
Alternate Serving Suggestion: Forgo the noodles. Plop your completed meatballs and sauce onto a pretty platter, and set a jar full of toothpicks beside it. You should have somewhere between 3 and 4 dozen meatballs that are about one large bite each. Perfect for party food!
I’m Link Partying at:
I’d been crazy craving either homemade pizza or homemade calzones for most of last week. Like every night, I had the V-8 juice commercial stuck on repeat in my head: yeah, that was a tasty dinner and all, if I do say so myself, but — dang! — I coulda had a calzone!
Finally, today, I couldn’t take it anymore. I cut a deal with Kid and Hubs. I’d clean the kitchen and cook if they’d brave the wilds of our local Walmart (on a Saturday! Scary!), and forage the ingredients. I even provided a handy list! In the order of the aisles in the store!
I’m just showin’ off when I do that. Boom!
Aaaaand now, for your
drooling viewing pleasure:
Well, hello, Mr. Breadmaker. Would you like to make some honey-olive oil pizza dough today? I kinda knew you would! We’re so sympatico like that, Mr. Breadmaker.
Mmm… It’s all doughy and rise-y. Look, Ma! I’m not even dirty yet! Score!
These are beautiful, and my house smells like garlic and baked bread. Double win!
I didn’t get a shot of the goodies that went into the calzones. I mean, really? Do you need a picture of every single freakin’ pan I own (Every. Single. One. Remind me again… Who was the braintrust who agreed to also clean the kitchen?) in use and sloppy on the cooktop? No, you really don’t. See, I’m cookin’, cleanin’, list-makin’, savin’ you time…
The dough ball made four calzones. Two were stuffed with sauce, ricotta, fresh basil, mozzarella, sausage, caramelized onions, garlic, and mushrooms. I filled the other two with sauce, ricotta, fresh basil, caramelized onions, and baby spinach. I topped all the servings with a bit of the remaining homemade marinara (with chunky garlic because… garlic… awesome).
That’s my slice from one of the spinach-stuffed calzones. You belong in my tummy, Signore.
Oink. Seriously. Just oink.
(Pardon my camera. The crazy granite counter is making it freak out and focus on… Uh, I have no idea what it thought it was focusing on, actually).
Mmm, beef roast! It’s what’s for dinner!
I totally forgot I had this. We ate meatloaf for two dinners and a lunch, so I was rummaging in the outside freezer last night, and… oooh, beef roast! You tricky devil, you were hiding from me!
Now, I about had a heart attack as I was unwrapping it and saw it was marked $4.99/lb. I normally wouldn’t touch a price like that! Yow! Who the heck bought this? I’mma crack some skulls! And then I spotted the big, beautiful BOGO sticker on it, too. Must have been the mate to one I already used.
Oh, my darling, cheap beef roast… I love you. Yes, I do. You belong in my tummy because you’re so yummy.
What? I can’t possibly be the only one who sings (badly) to her food. You know who you are.
It’s sitting in my slow cooker with the absolute last of my onions and garlic, some Worcestershire (that was a one-take spell attempt, and I think I got it) sauce and Sweet Baby Ray’s. In a few hours, I’ll chop and drop a couple pounds of red potatoes (found in Walmart this week 5#/$1.99 — not too shabby, and my bag weighs more than 5 pounds, hah).
Payday! It’s payday! Do the happy dance for payday!
Yeah, er… I’ll just show myself out.
It’s that time again! That’s right, yall: Iiiiiiiiiit’s the day before payday! You know how I know?
All the bills are paid. Yay. Great.
We have no money. Whoohoo. Awesome.
So, what I cooked for dinner last night came down to how much volume I could make divided by using the fewest ingredients multiplied by how many days we could eat off it.
Yeah, that’s right. I’m doin’ kitchen math. I’m super nerdy that way. Don’t hate.
Okay, fine. I took a total phone-it-in, and made a meatloaf. And? I used the “good parts” of the couple onions and garlic cloves I had left.
Probably not an activity recommended for the squeamish, but totally for the stingy of us out there.
I’m telling you… I never feel more like I belong in my grandma’s Great Depression generation than when I’m hunched over the sink, cutting the good parts from fresh veg that isn’t… Well, isn’t so fresh anymore.
Fortunately, with all this super couponing I’ve been doing for the last few months, we have a pretty nice stash of staple, long-shelf-life items. Obviously, I had ground beef in the freezer. I used one of the last cans of stewed tomatoes from my canned food cupboard. There’s bread in the freezer for meatloaf sandwiches today. In the pantry, there are at least a dozen each assorted rice/noodle/mashed potato packets if someone wants a side instead of a sammy.
No, not all of it is fabulous, delicious, nom-nom food. But I feel so much better knowing that when we run short between checks — like this month — we have it… something… anything out there in the kitchen.
Just having any of that food stockpiled is a massive step up from where we were just a few years ago.
Man… There were times, we’d get to Tuesday, Wednesday… Heck, even Monday before the next 2-week paycheck, and there was almost nothing in the fridge or pantry. Certainly nothing to make a meal out of. We ate questionable cans of green beans and naked hot dogs for dinner a lot. Like, a lot a lot.
Between you and me? There were nights I didn’t even eat so the hubs and the kiddo could have all the beans or whatever.
I am so not ever going back to that place.