Janet here: So you don’t know what to make for dinner and can’t imagine making another burrito or quiche? Take a deep breath and realize you have the makings of a great (easy) dinner within your grasp. I’m talking something I generally call tortilla pies.
Here’s the general idea: You saute up some veggies, maybe take some chicken you’ve got in the fridge and saute that up, grate some cheese of your liking, add some spices and then build a tortilla tower. Bake it and you are in business about 30 minutes later. It’s that simple.
You could take some leftover veggies too for one of the layers….or saute them fresh in whatever combination you want. Interested in Mexican? Use chilies and south of the border spices. Got a yen for something Indian? Add in cumin and curries and you’ve got something that works there too. The point is it’s as versatile as you want it to be. The only limitation is your imagination.
Here’s a recipe to get you started.
12 6-inch corn tortillas
about 3 cups assorted diced veggies such as onion, garlic, zucchini, peppers, whatever your heart desires
about 1 cup of diced chicken
1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheese
1 cup or so salsa OR
2 tablespoons butter, about 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup diced green chilies and about 3/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9X13 inch baking pan with canola oil.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and saute the veggies/chicken of your choice for about 5-7 minutes until just cooked. If you’re doing veggies alone, start with onions and then add garlic and the denser veggies, ending with zucchini, which cooks quickly and you don’t want it to be overcooked. If you’re doing chicken add it after the onions but before the garlic. It can all be sauteed together.
If you’re using salsa, move to the next step. If you’re making this roux version (pictured here), melt the butter, stir in the flour to make a roux and then add the broth and stir frequently until it thickens. Take it off the heat and add the chilies.
Place 4 tortillas (they will overlap a bit) in the bottom of the baking pan. Add half the sauteed goodies. Spread cheese on top and whatever sauce you’re using. Then add another layer of four overlapping tortillas. Spread your veggie/chicken/salsa/roux/cheese mixture on top. End with four more tortillas and a little salsa/roux/cheese. Bake uncovered for about 25 minutes until bubbling and lightly browned on top.
There are a million fabulous things about having my parents visit our little house here in California. There are outings endeavored as a multigenerational unit and breaks given to John and me, along with lots of playing and giggling and book reading with M. I feel incredibly fortunate to be friends with my parents as an adult and to have entered into a partnership with a person who equally enjoys their company. One of the highlights of each of their visits for me are the leisurely dinners at our dining room table after M has gone to bed. My mom and dad and John and I eat delicious food, share some drinks and dessert and settle into interesting (and often hilarious) conversations. Every night, I brim with warmth and delight in getting to sit back with three of the most important people in my life at once. These evenings we’ve forged together over the past year are some of my favorite moments of my entire life.
One of the meals we made while my folks were in town was fish tacos. John and I love fish tacos and we used to make them all the time. For some reason, they slipped out of our repertoire for a while, though. They’re back, for sure, and better than ever.
We don’t have a super precise method for making fish tacos, so I’m just going to detail what we did in paragraph form instead of the traditional recipe format we feature here. We bought 1 1/2 pounds of tilapia to feed four adults. John grilled the tilapia and corn on the cob (which we ate separately). We warmed corn tortillas in the oven and these served as the base for the tacos. The fish was placed on top of the tortilla and then black beans were placed on top (due to a shortage of time these were canned black beans which we rinsed very well before simmering them in chicken stock with bay leaves, diced onion and chile powder) . On top of the beans we scooped cabbage that had marinated in lime juice, sugar, vinegar and salt (John prepped the cabbage first and by the time we were serving everything up it was tender and flavorful). Completing the taco was a bit of homemade guacamole that had chopped up peach, tomato, and white onion in it along with lime juice, salt, and a few dashes of hot sauce. A wedge of lime was placed on each plate along with an ear of corn and sour cream was offered at the table. DEEEE-LICIOUS!