It’s fun to try new recipes–and it’s fun to vary them. It’s the varying that inexperienced cooks are often afraid of. I know I used to be.
Back in my early days, I’d find something that looked really good, but if I didn’t have every single ingredient, I either put off making it,
or dashed off to the store. That can get tiring, and it’s so unnecessary. One of the first things a new cook should learn is how to mix things up a bit.
Yesterday, for instance. I had some meat that needed to be used up, and I was in the mood for Mexican. So, I dug out one of my favorite Mexican recipe books. I had bought some flour tortilla shells at the grocery store, but I discovered that was about all of the required ingredients I had on hand.
The recipe called for cream of chicken soup, sour cream, picante sauce, cooked chicken, and Monterey Jack cheese. I had none of those things. So, I used what I had, and the result was better than I remember that original recipe being.
Here’s the recipe, as I tweaked it:
1 can cream of mushroom soup
8 oz. plain Greek yogurt
1 cup black bean salsa (Mrs. Renfrew’s. I like it because it doesn’t have sugar in it.)
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 pound of ground chuck, browned
1 cup shredded garlic-and-herb cheddar
6 flour tortillas
1. Mix the soup, yogurt, salsa and chili powder. Reserve 1 cup.
2. Brown the ground chuck, seasoned with homemade taco seasoning. (I make my own because I don’t like the unpronounceable ingredients in the packaged stuff. But go ahead and use it if you prefer.)
3. Mix 1 cup of the salsa mixture, ground beef and cheese.
4. Spread about 1/3 cup of the meat mixture down the center of each tortilla. Roll up and place seam-side down in a 3-quart shallow baking dish.
5. Pour the remaining salsa mixture over the enchiladas. Cover and baked at 350° for 40 minutes.
It could be there’s a recipe just like that somewhere, but the point is, I didn’t know that. I substituted our of necessity. Back in my younger days, it would never have occurred to me to take such liberties; now I realize that’s what makes cooking fun. Most experienced cooks discovered that long ago. If you haven’t, try it!