I am recognizing a pattern that repeats itself every year. I imagine, or at least hope, that some of you can relate. In January I find myself five or ten or even fifteen pounds over my ideal weight, with a few extra inches around my waste and super flabby "Phyllis" arms. (Also curious if any of you will catch that reference. Hint: it's from a movie.) I start to think about how in a few short months I'm going to want to accompany my children to the pool in a bathing suit and think maybe I should start exercising. I start working out, remember that I actually like it and that it makes me feel good, until summer comes. I often hear myself saying, "it's so much fun to be a Mom when it's nice outside." We just go, go, go... to the pool, to the park, or outside in front riding bikes. The kids are happy to be outside in the sun, and so is Mom. It feels good to feel the sun and be active. Not only that, but the kids get to be with their friends and so do I. Then Autumn comes around and it starts to get chilly. Fast. And then I turn into a hermit who craves chocolate, would rather stay in and watch movies and all the new TV shows than go out and be social, and only leaves the house when she has to. I do a lot of sewing and cooking and realize over Christmas break that it's been five days since I've left the house and I don't even mind. Freeze that picture. And there (or here) I am, flabby and ten pounds overweight.
So I started exercising again this week and I am so sore and stiff, but it feels great. I really hope I can keep it up because this year I have an even bigger motivation than just going to the pool. We're going on a Caribbean cruise after graduation!! I am so looking forward to having a real vacation.
I have kind of a weird approach to dieting and weight loss. I can't do "I can't believe it's not butter" spray. Let me tell you something: I can definitely believe that it's not butter. That stuff is disgusting. I still like to eat what I want, just less of it. I'll still let myself have dessert, if I've eaten a meager lunch. And I'd rather skip snacks than use fat-free mayonnaise, cream cheese, or sour cream. Yuck. Although I do believe in 1/3 less fat cream cheese and half and half. I love anything with a creamy sauce. Mmmm....
So after a rigorous (for me) arm and shoulder workout yesterday and an enjoyable walk in some unseasonably warm weather (which by the way was probably more exercise I got than all of last season), I rewarded myself with this dinner. It was so good. And I love the way Franny says, "Enchi-LADA." And it certainly was a reward.
Chicken Enchiladas with Roasted Tomatillo Chile Salsa
adapted from Tyler Florence's recipe
Roasted Tomatillo Chile Salsa:
- 1 pound tomatillos, husked
- 1 yellow onion, peeled, sliced, quartered or whole
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 jalapenos (I used just about 3/4 of only one jalapeno. I don't think my kids could have handled all that heat and I was happy with the outcome. I didn't strip the jalapeno of it's seeds, though.)
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
- 1/2 lime, juiced
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups chicken stock, storebought
- Chopped cilantro leaves
- 1 deli roasted chicken (about 3 pounds), boned, meat shredded (this would taste great, I'm sure, but I didn't have one, so I seasoned three boneless chicken breasts, boiled them, and shredded them.)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 10 large flour tortillas
- 1/2 pound Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/3 cup half and half
- Chopped tomatoes and cilantro leaves, for garnish
- Guacamole, optional
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
For the salsa:
On a baking tray, roast tomatillos, onion, garlic and jalapenos for 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer the roasted vegetables and any juices on the bottom of the tray to a food processor. Add the cumin, salt, cilantro, and lime juice and pulse mixture until well combined but still chunky.
Meanwhile heat a 2 count of olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and caramelized - this should take 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cumin then cook for a further minute. Sprinkle on the flour and stir to ensure the flour doesn't burn then gradually add the chicken stock to make a veloute. Continue stirring over a low simmer until the flour cooks and the liquid thickens. Turn off the heat, add half of the roasted tomatillo chile salsa, some additional fresh chopped cilantro and fold in the shredded chicken meat. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
Change the temperature of the oven to 350 degrees F and begin assembling the dish. Take a large baking dish and smear the bottom with some of the reserved tomatillo salsa. Now take the flour tortillas and briefly flash them over the stove-top flame (or put them briefly under the broiler if using an electric stove). Using a shallow bowl, coat each tortilla lightly with the reserved salsa mix. Put a scoop of the shredded chicken-enchilada mix on top of the tortilla followed by a sprinkle of the shredded cheese. Fold the tortilla over the filling and roll like a cigar to enclose it. Using a spatula place the tortillas in the baking dish and continue to do the same with all the tortillas. Mix the half and half into the remainder of the salsa, pour on top of the rolled enchiladas and top with the remaining cheese. Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes until bubbly and cracked on top. Garnish with cilantro and tomato.
Serve hot with sour cream and fresh guacamole, if desired.