Friday, September 11, 2009

Pointing Big Fat Fingers

The United States is known for its larger than life attitude. Clichés like “the bigger the better” and “can’t have too much of a good thing” come to mind when considering the stereotypical American way, especially when it comes to food.

Food portions are on the way up due to our out of control distortions of what one portion of food looks like. My mom is always harping about how one serving size of meat should be about the size of a deck of cards. The only time, I eat a potion of meat as small as a deck of cards is if it is the pepperoni on top of my pizza. A can of soda is 12 ounces, but the original bottle of Coca-Cola was only 6 ounces. The amount of food we serve at home and in restaurants is increasing because our idea of what a serving size looks like is seriously fuzzy. For instance, a serving size of ice cream is generally ½ cup; this should be about the size of a baseball. I imagine that when most of us choose to indulge in a bowl of ice cream, it is more like the size of the pitcher’s mound. The following excerpt is from an article that details the increases in portion sizes in the US since the 1970’s for specific foods:

Between 1977 and 1996, portion sizes increased for salty snacks, desserts, soft drinks, fruit drinks, French fries, hamburgers, cheeseburgers and Mexican food. Such increases were large. The quantity of salty snacks increased by 93 calories or 0.6 ounces, soft drinks by 49 calories or 6.8 ounces, hamburgers by 97 calories or 1.3 ounces, French fries by 68 calories or 0.5 ounces and Mexican food by 133 calories, or 1.7 ounces.


This may sound like I am scolding the American people. You may be expecting me to post a recipe for some kind of petite little finger food. But I have another cliché for you: "if you can't beat'em, join'em". That, my friends, is why I mention the portion issue to excuse myself of any responsibility having to do with the out-of-control sizes of my enchiladas. I cannot apologize as my portion distortion is simply a result of the environment in which I grew up.

Not My Fault Fat Bottomed Chicken Enchiladas:

10 flour tortillas (about 10-inches in diameter each)
1 extra large can of red enchilada sauce (or 2 small cans - you will need about 25 ounces)
4 chicken breasts (boneless and skinless)
1 tbsp chili powder
1 small white onion (chopped)
3 C shredded Mexican mixed cheeses (or white or yellow cheddar)
1/2 C sour cream
2 large tomatoes (or 4 small) chopped (you can also use some salsa here by replacing a cup of the fresh tomatoes with 3/4 C of salsa)
olive oil



Cut up raw chicken breasts into strips and coat with chili powder.
Pan-fry the chicken strips until cooked thoroughly, stirring in the chopped onion for the last 5 minutes (the whole process should take about 10 minutes). Once the chicken is cooked and the onion is tender, remove from heat, and set aside.



While chicken is cooling, in a large bowl combine 1 1/2 C shredded cheese, tomatoes, and sour cream.
Chop or shred chicken into small bite-sized pieces and combine with cheese and tomato mixture.
Set aside.



Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F
Set up a round dish with the enchilada sauce and set aside



Heat just a few drops of olive oil in a frying pan on high heat (just enough to coat the pan lightly)
lightly toast each side of a flour tortilla.



Place the hot tortilla into the enchilada sauce dish, coating completely.





Set out coated tortillas in a 9"x13" glass casserole dish.



Scoop a generous portion of the chicken mixture into each tortilla (2 heaping wooden spoonfuls which is somewhere between 1/4 C and 1/2 C...to be precise, you can separate the chicken mixture into 10 equal parts to fill each tortilla equally).



Roll each tortilla around the chicken mixture, and tuck in the ends.
Place each enchilada with the seam side facing the bottom of the dish.
Repeat this with about two to three tortillas at a time.
To fit all the enchiladas in the dish, don't be afraid to crowd and squish them together (as pictured).
Once they are all lined up in the dish, pour all the extra enchilada sauce on top, spreading around evenly.



Generously sprinkle the other 1 1/2 C of the shredded cheese evenly over the top.



Cover the dish with aluminum foil, and bake at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes.
Remove foil and continue baking for another 5 minutes (20 minutes total).



These enchiladas seem to get bigger and bigger every time I make them. I guess I am just trying to keep up with the times. This is not a quick recipe, but it is not too difficult. You can freeze the leftovers for about a month or two if you have a good way to store them. I try not to eat more than one with a side of black beans, and maybe some tortilla chips or rice. Zach eats two with sour cream on top. You can follow this basic recipe and stuff anything you want really inside of them like ground beef, steak, chorizo, or grilled veggies with cheese for a vegetarian option.

1 comment:

KarenSue said...

Oh my. Your write about the portions. But that sure looks good. Can we split one?

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