Comfort Food for Fall

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I know a lot of you think of comfort food for the Fall as soups, stews, casseroles or something along those lines. Well, my favorite Fall-time comfort food is a soupy mix of tomatoes, chilies, jalapeƱos, onions, garlic and refried beans all rolled into a tortilla and covered in cheese and lettuce.

Growing up, my mom wasn't the best of cooks and to this day I think she still has a fear of food.  She was always telling me just to try new things, but she's of the breed that is to do as I say not as I do.  This is a woman who thinks garlic and potatoes have no place being together.  HUH???  Yes, you heard me right.  She thinks garlic fries or garlic mashed potatoes are disgusting.  Maybe that's why I have turned into such a foodie; I'm exploring all of these items that were never even mentioned in our house growing up.  Anyhoot, back to my story.  Every Halloween as we were kids, we would go out trick-or-treating with our friends and the parents would stay at the house cooking up dinner.  Yes, this is back in the day where you could let your kids run around after dark knocking on people's doors and not worry that they were going to be taken or even worse.  When all of us kids would get back with our loot, there would be a big pan full of "green burritos" and we would have to eat a real dinner before we could dive into our candy for the inevitable sugar high.  Now, other than the lettuce that is placed on top, this concoction is nowhere near green in color so I'm not sure where it got it's name or how it came to be, but it's warm, spicy and just plain good.

Every year as the seasons change and the weather gets that little Fall nip in the air I start to crave these burritos.  Once again, I was fooled by my mother.  Since we only had them once a year, I thought they must be hard to make and take forever and that's why we never had them.  But, no, they are relatively easy to make and quite an easy weeknight dinner and given I don't eat too much beef, I make mine vegetarian so they're even that much more simple.  As I stated, I have been craving these and so last night after work knowing that I had to go to the store because we were down to almost nothing in the kitchen that could be called food I decided tonight was the night to make my Fall treat.  Knowing that I was short on cash and short on pretty much everything I headed to our local 99cent store where I knew I could find almost everything I needed along with fruits and veggies for the week.  I love that place!  It's not the best produce in the world, but when your budget's tight you can still get fresh items and eat well very cheaply.

Shopping done, I was able to find everything I needed plus some extra food for lunches and such for the week and headed home to comfort food land.  I had several obstacles in my way before I could start to dive into my burritos:

  • Dogs let out of their crates and into backyard - check
  • Set up guinea pig play area in living room for piggies to play - check
  • Clean guinea pig cage and re-fill with new bedding - check
  • Give kitties some love and playtime out in the front yard - check
  • Clean kitchen and do dishes left over from lazy Sunday - check
Now I was ready to cook!  I've discovered instead of just throwing a bunch of stuff into a pot or pan and getting dinner together as fast as I can, I'm enjoying the whole process of it.  I got all of my ingredients out and set them up on my cutting board, got my pan out added a bit of oil and started chopping my onion then added it to the pan to begin to sweat.  I next went to my garlic and pealed a couple cloves, chopped them up and added them to the pan with a can of roasted green chilies.  I chopped up some jalapeƱo peppers added them to the mix and then my large can of tomatoes.  Once everything was bubbling along I added a can of cream of celery soup.  Not sure what this does to the mix other than thicken it up a bit, but it seems to work.  At this point in the process, my mixture looks like a big pan-full of vomit.  I kid you not.  Don't be discouraged, just keep on going.  After bringing to a boil and letting it simmer for a bit I added a can of refried beans and mixed those in real well.  While the beans were doing their magic in the mixture, I chopped up some more onion, sliced some cabbage I had on hand real thin and grated a bit of cheese.  Now I was ready to assemble!  I heated up a flour tortilla on top of my gas burner then filled it with my green burrito goodness, added some onion, cheese and cabbage then rolled it up.  It then gets topped with more sauce, little more onion and a dollop of sour cream.  I grabbed a Negra Modelo and went to town!  Oh it was good!  Just what I had been craving and wanted.  Just as I sat down, husband was home earlier than expected and was able to enjoy a burrito as well declaring they were "awesome!"

In summary,
  • Fall comfort food - check
  • Happy piggies playing on the floor - check
  • Clean kitchen - check
  • Clean guinea pig cage - check
  • Dogs running amok in the backyard - check
  • Happy husband home to good meal - check
My day is complete and I can now rest...

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