peony tulips for kris on may 1
While it might seem quiet around here, it has been anything but. Three months ago, I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and began medication that sent my GI system on a 6-week roller coaster ride. I changed my diet, increased my exercise, and researched how to get my health and blood sugar under control. There were lots of bonks while navigating energy needs with more intense workouts and GI distress from the meds. But after weaning myself off of certain foods (the carbs, I do love them), consulting a nutritionist who specializes in diabetes, and converting some of my favorite recipes to healthier versions, I am meeting my health goals and feeling so much better.
last year: mother’s day, may 2021
last week: may 2022
In January 2022, I began planning a trip for my parents that should have happened in 2020 when my dad turned 80. Yosemite National Park was on my parents’ bucket list. Jeremy and I have camped, hiked, backpacked, ski toured, and photographed in Yosemite over the past 30 years. We knew enough to find a comfortable window for my parents to see the main sights without too much risk of snow or wildfires outside of the insanely crowded peak season. And because I had no way of knowing what the pandemic would be doing in May, I booked stand-alone luxury lodging with en suite dining space (for take out meals).
mother’s day on the lovely deck of our cabin
kicking off happy hour with mother’s day champagne
upper yosemite falls and the merced river
mom and dad at tunnel view
Mom and Dad enjoyed exploring Yosemite Valley, taking in waterfalls full of spring runoff (Bridalveil, Horsetail, Ribbon, Upper and Lower Yosemite), the giant sequoias, the great granite monoliths of El Capitan and Half Dome, the dogwood blossoms, and learning about the geologic history of the region. But the second half of the trip was what Dad was looking forward to the most: wine country. Jeremy tasted wines with my dad and I was the designated driver. All of the tastings were outdoors or open to the outdoors and all of our meals were either outside or carry out. Ultimately the whole adventure was a success because my parents were happy.
wine tasting at joseph phelps winery
the stunning entrance at joseph phelps
in the opus one courtyard
the garden outside our cottage in st. helena
I made sure to have healthy snacks on hand, ordered wisely at restaurants, and got out for hikes or trail runs most days, but it did involve a great deal of effort and planning to pull it all off and cater to my parents’ wishes while making sure the itinerary never went sideways. It was exhausting and I could not have done it without Jeremy’s support (logistical, moral, and otherwise). It’s good to be home with the pups, getting back to my exercise routine, living a simpler life, and eating my own food again.
these two have no idea how much we missed them
Knowing how to cook is probably the most important skill I bring to my dietary pivot. It gives me the ability to turn a generally unhealthy dish into something more nutritious, but still tasty and satisfying. Sometimes I make the indulgent recipe for Jeremy and create a diabetic-friendly mini version with substitutions for myself (because portion control). Other times we both eat the same healthier adaptation. And there are days when we eat completely different meals. It’s all fine.
We have been loving these green chile chicken enchiladas since last year. I’m happy to report that it is still a meal I eat – simply with less cheese, chicken, and oil – in a smaller portion. The original recipe uses flour tortillas which Jeremy can vouch for because I ran out of corn tortillas once. But we both prefer the taste of corn tortillas which are better for me than the refined carbohydrates in a traditional flour tortilla.
There are many shortcuts you can take to make this an easy weeknight meal like shredding the meat from a rotisserie chicken. [I buy an organic rotisserie chicken and use the meat for various soups, salads, sandwiches, nachos, and then use the carcass to make broth.] Fresh or jarred salsa verde works great here. And while I draw from my stash of roasted green chiles from my freezer, feel free to use canned green chiles.
cheese, cilantro, chicken, salsa verde, onions, corn tortillas, green chiles, oregano, garlic, cumin, salt, pepper (not pictured: canola oil)
add oregano, cumin, and garlic to the sautéed onions
stir in the green chiles
mix the cilantro, chicken, half the cheese, and some of the salsa into the filling
Prepping the filling is the biggest hands-on part of the recipe. Once that is complete, you’re well on the road to Enchilada Town. If you are using corn tortillas, you should know that they aren’t terribly pliable unless you give them a quick pan fry in a little oil. Trust me, I tried steaming them with a zap in the microwave, but frying is the best way to avoid busted corn tortillas.
a little oil on a hot skillet and a quick fry on both sides
i use about 1/2 cup of filling per corn tortilla
After rolling each tortilla, nestle them into the baking dish with the seam-side down to let gravity hold them closed. Don’t pack them too tight if you are using a smaller baking dish (like the one I’m using here). Just get another baking dish for the extras. Spoon the salsa verde over the enchiladas and then layer with cheese.
Alternatively, you could skip rolled enchiladas altogether and make stacked enchiladas which do not require frying of the tortillas. Just layer tortillas, filling, salsa verde, cheese, and repeat until you end with tortillas and some extra salsa and cheese on top.
spoon the salsa verde over the enchiladas
finish with cheese and maybe some pretty diced red onions
i like to bake until the edges get crisp
Now, I haven’t been off living my life entirely neglecting the food blog – just mostly. I DID try a few vegetarian versions of this recipe where I tested green jackfruit and mushrooms in place of the chicken.
king oyster mushrooms and green jackfruit
Jackfruit has a nice stringy, meat-like texture that works as a stand-in for shredded chicken or shredded pork. I used canned green (young or unripe) jackfruit in brine from the Asian grocer. If you go this route, be sure that you aren’t grabbing a can of ripe jackfruit in syrup because it’s a different beast.
green jackfruit out of the can
shred it and rinse well
squeeze it dry
cook it up with spices
The jackfruit carries a slight flavor of its own, but if you prepare it with barbecue sauce or other flavorful condiments, the texture is what stands out. The jackfruit enchiladas were good, but they weren’t my favorite because I sure do love mushrooms. King oyster or king trumpet mushrooms are commonly sold in the produce section of well-stocked Asian markets as well as Whole Foods and other grocery stores with good mushroom selections. You could use regular oyster mushrooms, too. The prep involves peeling the mushrooms into chunky strips and frying them in a little oil and salt and pepper. The texture is less like chicken than the jackfruit, but the flavor is that of mild mushrooms. I like it as much as, if not more than, the chicken enchiladas.
peel the king oysters into strips
sauté in a pan until browned and slightly crisped
two vegetarian options
Not only did I want to get this recipe up for everyone who had inquired about it on my Instagram posts, but I’ve made it so many times now that it truly deserves a spot on the blog. This way I no longer have to lug my big recipe notebook into the kitchen, but can pull the recipe up on my kitchen laptop or phone as needed.
served with sour cream and cilantro
4 tbsps canola oil
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground cumin
8 oz. diced green chiles
3 cups shredded chicken*
16 oz. salsa verde (fresh or from a jar)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
3 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
salt and pepper to taste
8 corn tortillas (original recipe calls for 8 flour tortillas, in which case use 4 cups of chicken)
* Vegetarian substitutions for shredded chicken include king oyster (or king trumpet) mushrooms or young (green) jackfruit. See below for preparation tips.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with vegetable oil.
Make the filling: Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, sauté the onions until they are soft (about 2-3 minutes). Stir in the garlic, oregano, and cumin and cook for a minute until fragrant. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the green chiles, chicken, 1/3 cup salsa verde, cilantro, and half of the cheese. Set aside the filling.
Fry the tortillas: Heat a teaspoon of canola oil in a small frying pan or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, place a corn tortilla in the pan (it should sizzle) for a few seconds, then flip the tortilla and let it cook until it begins to bubble with air pockets (less than 30 seconds). Remove to a paper towel. Repeat for the remaining tortillas.
Assemble the enchiladas: Fill each tortilla with 1/2 cup of filling. Roll the tortilla up and set it seam-side down in your baking dish. Spread the remaining salsa over the enchiladas and top it with the rest of the cheese. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the top is bubbly and golden. Serve with sour cream, cilantro, and red onion. Serves 4.
shredded king oyster mushrooms
9 oz. fresh king oyster (king trumpet) mushrooms
1 tbsp vegetable oil
salt and pepper to taste
Shred the mushrooms with your hands by peeling sections off along the length of the mushrooms. Heat the vegetable oil in a sauté pan over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add the mushrooms and sauté until the edges brown and crisp. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat. 9 ounces will yield about 1/2 cup of filling. You can store this in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
20 oz. can young or green jackfruit in brine (don’t get ripe jackfruit which is canned in syrup)
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt
black pepper to taste
Drain the brine from the jackfruit and shred the fruit with your hands. You can remove the round seeds if you don’t like their texture, but I tend to leave them in. Rinse the flesh well under water. Squeeze excess water from the jackfruit meat with hands or a towel. Set a sauté pan over medium high heat. When the pan is hot, add the jackfruit and cook for a minute. Stir in the seasonings and cook for a couple of minutes then flip the jackfruit and cook another 2 minutes. A 20-ounce can yields about 3/4 cup of filling. You can store this in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
more goodness from the use real butter archives
|beer chicken green chile enchiladas||hot cheesy green chile dip||green chile cheeseburger||mexican grilled corn salad|