Sunday, June 13, 2010

My Husband's Favorite Meal

I titled this post my husband's favorite meal, but that's not completely true. This is my husband's favorite meal that does NOT include hot dogs. Many of you know of his mad love for those mysterious little meaty tubes, and some of you share that passion. I however, will never understand it. By the way, June is National Hot Dog Month! I digress...

Before I ever met my mother-in-law, Diane, Austin had told me over and over about how I HAD to try her enchiladas! I, being the lover of mexican food that I am, was all for it. So one of the first few times I met Diane, we came over to her house, and they were there. The Enchiladas. The ones I HAD to try. So I fixed my plate, started my enchilada....and it was delicious! But that wasn't the amazing part. About half way through eating it, I look up and Austin is shoveling his 4th or 5th enchilada into his mouth. I kid you not. This man can eat an insane amount of enchiladas. These are not meat and red sauce enchiladas, these are creamy, cheesy chicken wrapped in fluffy flour tortilla enchiladas! They are like the cheesecake of enchiladas.

Austin recreated these enchiladas several times for me while we were dating. But just like he overindulges in enchiladas, he overindulged in ingredients as well. The first time he decided to use an extra block of cream cheese. Yes I said block. I could not even eat half. He has also been known to dump an entire bag of shredded cheese on top. Please, do not try these things. It does not come out well. They are perfect how they are.

Throughout our marriage I have made these enchiladas time and time again. Each time, Austin eats the leftovers for breakfast, lunch, and snacks until they are gone. He is very sensitive about the enchiladas, too. If I ever try to make a change, he gets VERY upset! Once I wanted to try to switch the chicken for black beans to make them vegetarian. He said that if I did that, not only would he not eat them, but I couldn't call them enchiladas. Tonight I switched the chicken for ground turkey which he was okay with. The recipe makes 12 enchiladas, so tonight I split them between two baking dishes so that I could freeze half of them for a later meal. Austin panicked. He immediately quizzed me: "How many are you going to eat? What are our sides? Do I have to save some for breakfast?!"

These truly are special enchiladas. They aren't gourmet, vegan, or even an original recipe. But they make my husband oh so happy, and they are special to our family. I hope you give them a shot!

1lb boneless, skinless chicken breast OR 1lb ground turkey
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese
1 can (4.5 ounces) chopped green chilies
12 flour tortillas, 6-inch
2 cans (10 ounces each) Old El Paso green chile enchilada sauce
Shredded Cheese (type and amount is up to you, I prefer monterey jack, austin likes the mexican blend)

>Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray your baking dish with pam. You can either use a 9x13 dish to hold all 12 enchiladas, or two smaller dishes if you want to freeze half.

>Cut chicken into bite sized pieces and cook in a skillet over medium-high heat until done. Add green chilies. Cut cream cheese into strips or cubes and add to skillet. Continue to stir and cook until the cream cheese is blended in.

>Next, spoon the chicken mixture into your flour tortillas. Do not overstuff your tortillas or you won't have enough to fill 12 tortillas. I usually put a heaping 'big' spoon in each one. You know, the spoons in your silverware that you only use when all the smaller ones are dirty? Yes those. Roll the tortilla up snug, and place seam side down in your baking dish. Keep going until your done!

>Last, pour the enchilada sauce over the top, and sprinkle with cheese. If your husband is like mine, do this when he is not around, and then don't leave the enchiladas unattended or you'll end up with the aforementioned cheese overload. Pop them in the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly!

Here is Austin, enjoying his favorite meal:

So, what's a special meal for your family?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Transitions (warning: long)

I have tried my hand at blogging in the past, but was never able to keep up the motivation to post regularly. Hopefully that will be different this time around!

As many of you know, Austin and I recently relocated to Shreveport so that I could begin a master's program in Speech-Language Pathology here at LSU Health Science Center-Shreveport. Many of you also know that I was not excited about this move. One would think that the chance to pursue a degree in a field you are passionate about would be a happy thing! And that chance excited me, no doubt. But the thought of having to leave my beloved home in New Orleans, leaving my friends, my church.... not so exciting. Actually, quite the opposite. But we went through with the decision, confident that God knows much more than we do.

Just days after I wrapped up my job at Early Steps, and Austin finished up his year at O. Perry Walker, our wonderful, amazing, loving friends came over for a night of truck loading, pizza and beer. The next morning we hit the road towards our new home, where other wonderful friends were waiting to help us unload and unpack. A few weeks later our apartment is now unpacked and decorated and feeling more like home. I'll post pictures in the next post.

Life in Shreveport has been odd so far, but good in many ways. Austin is working for a wonderful organization this summer called Louisiana Teaching Fellows. LTF is a program much like Teach for America (which is what brought us to New Orleans). LTF provides alternative certification program for people who want to become teachers, in exchange for their commitment to teach for 2 years in a high need school. Austin is teaching at their summer institute, training new teachers! It is a really busy job, he's gone almost 11 hrs a day. But I am so proud of him for doing it, since it increases his impact on students exponentially!

Grad School. I've been so worried and scared about grad school for over a year now: taking the GRE, working on applications, waiting on acceptances, and then bellyaching about what grad school would be like and if i'd survive! We'll I'm happy to say that I've now finished my third week and I'm not dead yet! We started with orientation, which was basically a day of hearing nothing but warnings about how stressed out we will be, which was pretty overwhelming. But classes have been wonderful!! Our professors are great and so helpful. My first test is next friday, but I feel really confident! My classmates are great and we've been studying together after class almost every day. One thing that is very different from undergrad is having all your classes with the same people, and all of you being passionate about the same thing! It creates much more of a supportive atmosphere! Next post I'll talk about our first cadaver lab! (it was awesome)

This post is long enough now. If you've read this far, thanks! To sum it up:
Our friends and family: awesome
Our new apartment: amazing
Austin's job: rewarding
Grad school: super cool
Shreveport:.... over all not so bad... but still not Nola.