Yesterday all three babies were sleeping at the same time (it’s amazing what I feel like I can accomplish when that happens). I was working on a menu plan and grocery list for this week, revising my earlier habits of preparing anything that ends with “serve immediately.” So I’m rifling through my recipe cards, looking for casseroles or crock-pot dishes, and I hear something on the monitor.
Which reminded me that I had temporarily forgotten that I had babies.
That was weird in and of itself, as my whole world has revolved around them for months. But it was also weird to feel like I had slipped back into my old self, the one who made menu plans and loved to cook healthy, tasty, diverse meals instead of buying vegetables only to have 85% of them go bad in the veggie drawer of the fridge because it takes so much longer to do anything these days, including execute a recipe.
When people told me that having kids would change my life, I somehow thought that I would be walking around in a permanent existential crisis. Not so. Most of the time I don’t feel very different from my “old self.” I still laugh at the same things, still look (mostly) the same, still get fired up about books and Muppets and such.
Recently, though, I’ve had glimmers of my former life in which Alan and I went out to dinner, went running, met up with friends, watched movies. (We did watch our first movie at home in about six months: The Triplets of Belleville. A lovely film with the bonus of being only 75 minutes.)
Thanksgiving also reminded me of the differences of my life now. Last year I made dinner rolls from scratch, brined a turkey, made my own gravy with drippings and fresh herbs from the garden. This year, the only two dishes I made were mashed potatoes (and Alan finished making those) and a pumpkin-pecan pie. Everything else was prepared by someone else, and multiple someone elses did all the prep (shout-out to AJ, Mom, Dad, Barb, and Alan) and clean-up (shout out to Dad, Mom, and Guy).
It felt weird, not being in charge. It felt weird to not create a fancy meal with multiple courses and complex dishes. I will again someday, but for now there is also something challenging–in a good way–about how simple and streamlined I can make dinner while using up leftovers from the fridge. From this new philosophy comes my post-Thanksgiving turkey enchiladas, with help from sous-chefs Theresa, Audrey, and Jamie. (Photo credit to our nanny, Abbie.)
Ingredients: (I did not actually measure anything, so use your judgment)
- 1/2 a medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1 bell pepper, any color, chopped
- 1/2 cup frozen corn
- 4 oz. can green chiles
- 3 cups or so cooked turkey or chicken, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 2-3 Tbsp. flour
- 1-2 tsp. cumin
- 1-2 tsp. coriander
- 1/3 cup or so of milk
- 1/3 cup or so sour cream
- 12 oz jar salsa verde
- 6 8-inch tortillas
- shredded cheddar to taste
- green onion, chopped
- Heat olive oil in a medium skillet. Saute onions for about 3 minutes, then add peppers and saute for 6-ish minutes more, until veggies are soft. Add corn and chiles; stir until heated through.
- Put chopped meat in a large bowl. Add veggies and stir.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees.
- In the same skillet, melt the butter (take the skillet off the burner to avoid burning the butter). Sprinkle in the flour, cumin, and coriander. Stir with a whisk until it makes a roux (looks sort of uniformly pasty). Whisk in the milk, a bit at a time, until the mixture is a creamy but not runny consistency.
- In a small bowl, combine roux, sour cream, and salsa verde. Add 1/4 of this sauce plus some shredded cheddar to the meat/veggie mixture. Stir well.
- Spoon filling into each of six tortillas and roll them. Squish into an oiled 9×13 pan. Pour rest of sauce over enchiladas, sprinkle with more cheese, and bake for 25 minutes.
- Sprinkle with chopped green onions and serve to six normal adults, 3-4 hungry adults, or 2 new parents who need leftovers for the next night’s meal.