I moved in June. In the process of packing up one kitchen and settling into another, there has been something of dearth of real meals in my life for a span of several weeks. For much of the last month, I have subsisted on a diet of veggie burgers and office snacks which, while delicious, does not add up to ideal nutritional intake.
It wasn’t until the beginning of August that I felt up to challenge of cooking pasta. Get some rotini, thaw some flash-frozen veggies and toss them in a pot with stewed tomatoes, sauteed onions and garlic, and a fistful of spices. It was like learning for the first time that I actually had tastebuds! My parents visited last weekend and brought fresh life into my kitchen – not only fresh fruits and vegetables in my groceries but a trip to Ikea for a kitchen island! – and rekindled my interest in creating meals.
And so: this morning, I was awoken by a surprise plumber coming to replace my garbage disposal (it wasn’t really a surprise, since he had said “Sunday or Monday” and he knocked before letting himself in…it’s just that I didn’t hear it over my air conditioner in my somnolent state) and I found myself in the Starbucks attached to Whole Foods. While imbibing my daily caffeine it occurred to me that this day would be a really good day for enchiladas. I had a vague memory of having more or less followed a recipe at one point and, for once, I knew exactly what was in my kitchen.
As it turns out, a vague recollection is more than enough to compile utter deliciousness. Especially when you’re tailoring it to your own tastes. Who needs recipes?!
I give you: the Megchilada.
And, now, here are Meg’s Totally Unofficial, Completely Customizable, Read It Once And Then Build Your Own, instructions:
Complete Shopping List
- Crushed tomatoes with green chiles (2 cans)
- Chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (1 can)
- Protein (in my world, this is veggie protein crumbles)
- Black beans (I quick-prepped dried beans, but you could use 1 can)
- Corn tortillas
- Two medium sweet potatoes
- Cheddarjack cheese
- Low-fat sour cream
Dice the sweet potatoes and toss them in the oven with some vegetable oil and black pepper. Cook at 350, stirring occasionally, until tender. While that’s happening, cut up three or four chipotle peppers and add them to the crushed tomatoes. Get as much of the adobo sauce as humanly possible into the mix, too.
Pour a little bit of the tomato mixture into the bottom of a 9×9 pan and spread it around more or less evenly. Put down a layer of tortillas (breaking them in half helps get the corners) and then toss some beans over them. Note: the tortillas do not have to completely covered! Add a layer of sweet potato.
Here’s the fun part: add the protein (if it’s actual meat, you probably should have already cooked it) to the tomato sauce. I used about half a package of veggie stuff, just eyeballing it until it looked thickly protein-ated. Know what you’ve just made? AWESOMESAUCE. Pour half of that over the tops of the potato and beans and do what you can to spread it evenly. Lay down a whopping great handful (or two) of cheese.
Add another layer of tortillas and cover it with beans, sweet potatoes and the rest of the awesomesauce. Throw on some more cheese, set that sucker in a 325 oven until the cheese is all melty and mouth-watering, grab the sour cream to garnish with, and chow down.
Success! You have just made (and consumed) a real, honest-to-God, meal. Pat yourself on the back and go do some laundry.