Wednesday, January 9, 2013

This one's Tried and True: Creamy Beef and Bean Enchiladas

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20-25
Heavily adapted from a recipe by Mama Maria's Tortillas

1 pound ground beef
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
1 (15-ounce) can beans, black or pinto, drained   
3 ounces light cream cheese
1 (16-ounce) jar salsa, divided use
1 1/4 cups shredded cheese
10-12 wheat flour tortillas
3/4 cup light sour cream

Yield: 10-12 enchiladas
Brown ground beef with dried onion. Drain. Add beans, 1 cup of the salsa and the cream cheese. Heat and stir on medium until the mixture is hot and the cream cheese has melted. Add 3/4 cup shredded cheese. Mix well. Remove from heat. Spoon mixture into tortillas and roll up. Place in lightly greased, 9 X 13-inch casserole dish. Stir together remaining 1 cup of salsa and the sour cream. Spread over the top of the enchiladas. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup shredded cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until hot and bubbly and cheese has melted. To serve, garnish with additional sour cream, salsa and/or chopped olives, if desired.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Movie Quote Rescues Christmas Present

I enjoy making things for Christmas. No, let me rephrase that. I enjoy having made things for Christmas. The actual making of them can get stressful. But I've always managed to finish my projects on time with a minimal amount of hair pulling. Until this year.
My husband and I had made our nieces a puppet theater and wanted some hand puppets to go along with it. A search of the internet wasn't promising. The people puppets were too expensive for how many I wanted--at least one for each of the three girls. And then I saw a pattern. Yes! I could make some.
So it was that three days before Christmas I still had puppets to make. I cleared my schedule for the day and began.
Of the six puppets on the pattern, I'd decided to do three--a king, a queen, and a knight. I'd bought some cool-looking shiny fabric for the crowns and the knight's armor. And therein came the first problem. Said shiny fabric was the most awful stuff I'd ever sewn with. It was tissue-thin and unraveled at a glance. When I turned the first puppet right side out, the fabric had slipped out of the seam, which made gaping holes in the arms and crown.  I had to turn the puppet back out and resew--again and again and again. After multiple attempts I still hadn't caught it all.
Three hours of work, still without success. I was ready to throw His Majesty out the window, where he would lay buried in the snow until Spring.
"I'm going to give up." I told my husband. "This is not worth it."
I fully expected Jeff to support me in my attempt to abandon ship. He's usually all for relieving stress in my life. Instead he said, "Never give up. Never surrender."
Really? I'm ready to impale myself on a seam ripper and you're quoting Galaxy Quest at me?
Well, it worked. I launched another attack and finally, the king was born. He wasn't perfect--his crown had shrunk by a third--but he was complete.
Puppet two, the queen, went a little more smoothly. I'd learned a few things. Puppet three was almost simple. I finished the knight and even created a shield for him, all with time to spare for an episode of  Studio C before bed.  
Here are the finished products. With their sweet, innocent smiles, you'd never know what devils they were to make. Apparently, the theater and puppets were the hit of Christmas morning. And to think, it was Galaxy Quest that saved the day.