Today I am thrilled to welcome my dear friend and fellow Club31Women blogger, Chelsia Rief of Catz in the Kitchen, as a guest. We just enjoyed a few fabulous days together at the Club31 Writers Retreat. Thanks for your words and this delicious recipe, Chelsia!
Chicken Tortilla Pie
Admittedly, I was kind of a lazy child. I hated doing chores and I didn’t often ask if there was anything I could do to be helpful. It’s no wonder growing up that the kitchen often felt like a no-kid zone to me as I often observed my mom do the mad dinner rush.
Occasionally, I would ask my mom if there was anything I could do to help and she would put me in charge in one of four different tasks. Set the table, stir the gravy, slice fruit for the fruit salad, or get out whatever condiments were needed for dinner.
That was pretty much the extent of my kitchen involvement until marriage. I found that first year of cooking in the kitchen rough because I had such bad morning sickness from pregnancy, but I was in for a whole different surprise when I actually had a baby to juggle while getting dinner on the table!
Let’s just say those first several years of marriage were all about survival in the kitchen. Easy meals, the freezer section, out of a box, fast food, and lots of eggs! (As my husband and I joke with our kids now, if you’ve got eggs, you’ve got dinner.)
As my oldest completed her toddler years and I had another baby to juggle, I made the decision to invite the kids and my husband into the kitchen more…and I also challenged myself to finally learn to cook more—quite literally—“outside the box.”
Grace, my oldest, became my taster and encourager and my husband found that being in the kitchen actually helped him relax at the end of the day. As the kids have gotten older, they’ve really begun to show an interest in cooking and baking.
As a mom of four (little Ruby is under a year), I recognize that I had two ways of responding to this. I could encourage and cultivate this interest —a possible benefit to me in the long run—or I could brush their interest aside knowing that I could get things done faster and better alone.
After some missteps, I slowed down and invested the time with Grace. Of course, there were days when I wanted to say “no” (and did) because I was just tired or lacked patience. But then one of them would pop up on the bar stool in front of where I was prepping dinner and ask for an olive to eat or if they could taste the marinade and I would say “yes” and then somehow, I would relax.
I don’t want to paint a perfect picture. With four kids sometimes dinner hour can just be struggle city. But, involving the kids so that they know when I’m downstairs getting dinner ready, they need to be downstairs helping, too—that’s a plus.
Yes, sometimes that is still setting the table. My 10-year-old Eden actually made us all name placards that are individually decorated. (She’s also a great distraction for baby Ruby when she gets fussy!)
My 5-year-old Christian is actually in charge of cooking link sausage for breakfast! He likes to boast and say that he is the “best sausage cooker in the world.” He’s also at the age where he can grab items from the fridge and set them on the table. Different ages call for different jobs and I just try and utilize them as best I can—dinner suggestions for our weekly menus, stirring something on the stove, etc…
I think having the kids help chop, dice, and slice is helpful as well, as long as they are supervised, and old enough that it’s safe. I imagine teaching kids knife skills is like teaching them to drive—stressful at first!
For many, back to school is right around the corner and “summer slowdown” was not much of a slowdown! (Raise your hand if you feel the same!) That means you’re back to all the regularly scheduled activities, making it handy to have meals that you can swing out with ease come dinner time. Enter this chicken tortilla pie!
The recipe is really a method that you can adapt to what you have on hand. You need a sauce (green or red depending on preference), corn tortillas (which should always be on hand because they are cheap and slightly healthier than flour!), a protein (ground beef or turkey, rotisserie chicken, leftover meat from the fridge), and beans. You get to make it what you want. Add some cheese and olives. Olives are a must because my kids adore them!
There are so many things in life that we take part in that can be hard, intimidating and maybe a bit forced at first, but as you become comfortable with it, you become more natural at it. Those are the experiences and memories that are always the most rewarding.
Recipe adapted from Taste of Home
Recipe adapted from Taste of Home