All cooked out, all blogged out: That’s how I’ve been feeling lately, which explains my unprecedented 6 day absence from blogging–even longer since posting one of my own recipes. Though I’ve been spending lots of time reading cookbooks and finding recipes that give me plenty of inspiration, when it comes time to actually go into the kitchen and cook something, I seize up and become completely incapable of deciding what to cook. Then I wind up throwing together my dirty secret soup or an old favorite like arrabbiata or just give up and call the nearest sushi place for takeout. I call it food blogging burnout but it’s probably some kind of low-level depression caused by too many rainy days and too little sunlight.
Now, I’m telling you all this for a very simple reason: I’m hoping you’ll take it easy on me when you see the following recipe, one that’s guaranteed to offend everyone from lunchbox gourmands to raw foodists. If you loathe food out of cans, object to microwave ovens, or fear cooking in plastic, get away, quick, and don’t look back! Because what you’re about to see might shake you to your very core.
This is what I made for my daughter’s lunch on Friday:
Just about everything in it came out of a can or a jar, and I heated it in plastic in the microwave. All together, it took me just 6 minutes, about the same time it would have taken to make the peanut butter sandwich she begged me not to make. And you know what–she loved it.
While I was at it, I put together two more servings of this ridiculously easy enchilada casserole, one for my husband to take with him to work and one for myself. I figured I needed something stronger than salad to pull me out of my blahs, and a hot lunch just might do the trick. You know, it may have worked: it was a tasty and warm treat on yet another cold, rainy day. And, more importantly, it gave me something to blog about!
Ridiculously Easy Lunchbox Enchilada Casserole
The amount of ingredients you need for this will depend on the size of the container you’re making it in. My daughter’s 12-ounce microwaveable thermos held less than the CorningWare dishes that I used for my and my husband’s lunches, so the ingredients listed below are just approximations based on one serving–you may find you need more or less.
- 1/2 cup salsa
- 2-3 corn tortillas, cut into quarters
- 2/3 cup fat-free refried beans or chili beans (or a combination of the 2)
- 1/4 cup frozen corn kernels
- a handful washed baby spinach
- 2-3 jumbo black olives, sliced
- Choose a 1-serving dish that can be safely microwaved. (The thermos shown above is designed to be put into the microwave; most are not and should not be used for this. If you cannot find a BPA-free thermos, I recommend using a glass or ceramic dish.) Spread a couple of tablespoons of salsa in the bottom of the dish. Next place a layer of tortillas over the salsa, trying to cover most of the dish’s bottom–a little overlapping is okay. Spread the tortilla with half of the beans and top with the spinach. Add another layer of tortillas. Spread with the rest of the beans, sprinkle with the corn, and spoon a little salsa over the corn. Top with a final layer of tortillas. Spread the tortillas with a good layer of salsa, and put the olives on the top. (Or, hold the olives and add them after cooking.)
- Cover the top loosely with waxed paper (do not use the thermos top), and put the dish into the microwave. Cook on high power until heated all the way through, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Microwaves vary, so check to make sure that the inside is warm by inserting a knife into the middle and checking a sample. If you’re making this in a thermos, it will continue to cook after you’ve sealed the container, so getting it hot in the middle is not so important. If serving right away, heat it until it’s very hot and then let it sit for a few minutes to cool.
Preparation time: 5 minute(s)
Cooking time: 5 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 1
Makes one serving. With 2 tortillas and 2 olives: 306 Calories (kcal); 3g Total Fat; (7% calories from fat); 12g Protein; 62g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 1287mg Sodium; 9g Fiber. (Exact values–particularly of sodium–will change depending on the brands of salsa and refried beans used.)