So with this recipe I FINALLY utilized the last of the enormous bag of spinach I bought. What was that? Three recipes? Four? I lost count, but in my defense when I picked up that oversized bag of greenery I was thinking at the time, “Spinach really wilts down so this bag really isn’t that big, right?” Wrong. Silver lining is that I was forced to get creative to avoid food waste and all in all several really amazing recipes happened in my kitchen because of it. However, this is not the first instance of me over buying an ingredient. I’ve done this before with a 10lb bag of potatoes. That was awful. You can’t even imagine how long 10lbs of potatoes lasts with only two mouths to feed. And once in the bulk section at Whole Foods, I pulled the lever on the couscous 10 seconds too long and could have survived the apocalypse with the amount I ended up buying. I think it took nearly two years to go through all of it. Lesson here, blunders are gonna happen. Learn from them, get inspired by them, and definitely share the recipes with your friends.
Normally, when I think about spinach enchiladas I think of sour cream sauce. I decided enchiladas were an absolute must, as was using up the last of that dang spinach but when I rummaged in my fridge for sour cream, shockingly there was none. I contemplated changing the menu for a couple of minutes but scratched that idea and decided to go with my favorite enchilada sauce instead, TexMex Chili Gravy. You can’t really find chili gravy outside Texas too much, if a place even does a decent enchilada. Now I’ve had incredible Mexican food outside of Texas of course, but there’s something to be said about the cuisine you grew up eating and how it morphs into something more than just nourishment. It grows along with you and if you end up, like me, a thousand miles away from your home State and 10 million light years away from the culture you grew up in, cuisine can quite literally become an old friend to reminisce with. Chili gravy is such a friend for me. Just one whiff of it simmering on the stove and suddenly I’m 8 years old again sitting at a table for four at Lupe’s Mexican Restaurant after church on payday Sunday, with my little legs swinging excitedly under the table, as I munch on chips and salsa waiting for my hot plate of cheese enchiladas to arrive. Most of my fondest memories are of TexMex restaurants and it’s my goto cuisine nowadays whenever a wave of nostalgia hits me.
For over a year now, my spouse and I have been working towards getting Foster Licensed and just recently we finally reached the Home Study portion of the process. Now our personal lives are being even more meticulously assessed by not only our chosen references, but also the Department. We have three interviews pending on the horizon after our references are checked out. The Home Study worker will interview us both individually and as a couple. It might seem contradictory since I maintain a public blog, but I’m a pretty private person, as is my spouse. We are known around our hood as the “quiet cat ladies” and we are quite proud of that title. As excited as I am to finally be nearer to our Home Study and the completion of our licensing, this is all a bit nerve racking I must admit. Sort of like how I felt the morning of my SATs. I completely understand the necessity of potential Foster Parents being so painstakingly scrutinized but that doesn’t make me feel any less vulnerable. Plus it’s difficult to quite that little nagging voice in my head that keeps whispering, “If every single person who wanted children had to go through a process like this, then perhaps there wouldn’t be a need for the Foster system in the first place.” I suppose finally turning the last curve towards our Home Study, having my closests friends fill out a three page form on how adequate and appropriate we are as individuals, as a couple, and as potential Moms just to follow all that with three intensely personal interviews with a Social Worker just really hit home with me for the first time since our training class last July. So, I guess that’s why I suddenly felt the emotional craving for enchiladas. With this recipe, I killed that bag of spinach and quieted my unnecessary worrying at the same time. As I sat down for another solo yet incredibly comforting enchilada dinner, I smiled to myself with the thought that once all this is finalized with the Department at least it’ll never take me two weeks to finish off a bag of spinach again.
6 White Corn tortillas, gently warmed
2 cups chopped fresh Spinach, loosely packed
1/4 cup Cream Cheese
1 cup shredded Cheddar, divided
1 cup Chili Gravy, recipe follows
less than 1/4 tsp of Oil of choice
Salt and Pepper to taste
Garnish: shredded Iceberg lettuce, chopped Jalapeno, Lime wedges
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a small casserole dish with oil. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine the spinach, cream cheese, and half the cheddar. Salt and pepper. Mix until well combined. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Evenly spread half the chili gravy on the bottom of the casserole dish. Spread a couple tablespoons of the spinach mixture inside each tortilla, roll up, and place seam side down in the casserole dish. Cover the tortillas with the remaining chili gravy and top with the remaining cheddar cheese. Bake in the oven 30 to 45 minutes. Allow to rest a few minutes then serve with lettuce, jalapeno, and lime wedges.
TexMex Chili Gravy
2 cups Vegetable stock (can also use chicken or beef stock)
4 tbsp TexJoy Chili Powder, or to taste
2 tbsp Cumin Powder, or to taste
1 tab Butter
1 tbsp AP Flour
Salt and Pepper to taste
In a cast iron skillet over med high flame, melt the butter and stir in the flour. Cook for a couple of minutes. Add in the chili and cumin powder and stir a couple minutes more. Add in the stock and continue to stir until well combined. Bring to a soft boil, then reduce heat and simmer until thickened into a gravy, about 15 to 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Serve over enchiladas.