Sometimes I have grand plans to try a recipe but when I get home, tired or preoccupied, late or famished, the plans go straight out the window and hummus and crackers ensues.
You would think I’d have this down pat by now. I mean, I write about quick, weeknight dinners but sometimes, even I can’t manage to come up with something creative.
Now, we all have our days where we just don’t feel like cooking. I’m sure even Rachael Ray eats out.
Yet, one of the more common excuses I hear among people my age who like to cook but often don’t is that it’s too much of a hassle just to cook for themselves.
Why bother dirtying seven dishes just for yourself?
Well, first of all, eating out and skipping meals have both been linked to an increased risk of obesity and certain types cancer.
Secondly, and almost as importantly, why not treat yourself to a home cooked meal?
Growing up, my family ate dinner together most nights and even though we were by no means perfect, dinner was still a production that I look back fondly on (well, admittedly less fondly when I was a teenager, but fondly as a child).
Someone set the tables, someone poured everyone a drink (a chore that my brother and I loathed) and my mom cooked; most of the time dad did dishes.
Now that I live alone, I certainly don’t set the table and make a production out of dinner, but I see no reason to eat differently than I would want to if I was feeding friends, roommates, my parents or my non-existent husband and child.
In honor of making it easier for you to cook a delicious meal for yourself or whoever else, today’s post is a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure (similar to the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure I wrote about over on Chicago Now today).
Today only, you get to pick whether you want to be creative and try something new, something that only takes about ten minutes but does require a food processor; or you can take the easy way out and cheat, also known as taking a major shortcut and using bottled salsa to get dinner on the table faster.
Translation: you can make your own tomatillo sauce (even make it ahead and store in the fridge for up to 3 days) OR you can buy it pre-made from the Mexican food section in your local grocery store.
I made my own. I don’t regret it. Neither will you.
Chilaquiles are a traditional Mexican brunch dish, typically made with leftover tortillas and salsas, often made with eggs or chicken.
I adapted a recipe from Food & Wine and can only say that this is like a healthier, grown-up version of nachos.
Bring it to a potluck or make it just for yourself, because you’ll gladly eat it all week.
- 1½ pounds fresh tomatillos, husked, rinsed and halved
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 1 large jalapeño halved lengthwise, stemmed and seeded
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 /2 teaspoon coriander
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 15-ounce cans black beans (3 heaping cups)
- 1½ cups grated pepper Jack cheese (6 ounces)
- ½ cup grated cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
- 1 scallion, sliced
- One 6-ounce bag tortilla chips (8 cups)
- ¼ cup sour cream
- Preheat the oven to 450°. To make tomatillo sauce: In a blender or food processor, puree the tomatillos, garlic and jalapeño until smooth. In a large saucepan, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the cumin and coriander and cook over high heat until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add the tomatillo puree, bring to a boil and cook until the sauce loses its bright green color, 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. If using store-bought sauce, omit this step and use 2 cups store-bought tomatillo salsa.
- In a medium bowl, toss the black beans with ¾ cup of the pepper Jack, the cheddar cheese, scallion and half of the tomatillo sauce; season with salt and pepper. In another bowl, toss the tortilla chips with the remaining sauce.
- Spread half of the chips in an 8-by-11-inch baking dish; top with the black beans and cover with the remaining tortilla chips. Don't pack the chips down. Dollop the sour cream over the chips and sprinkle with the remaining ¾ cup of pepper Jack. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the cheese is browned. Serve at once.