Two friends of mine are having babies this month, both girls! Ohhhhh. Too cool right? Right! I get to buy PINK baby stuff, finally. I am also reviving an apparently long lost tradition, bringing dinner. So this is a tale of new babies, old traditions and good food.
In the 'old' days when people actually cooked real food, if someone was sick or having a baby or if someone died, women would cook a meal and bring it to the family 'to help out'. Whether that meant keeping a new mom off her feet, or feeding a hungry or grieving family, you did it because that's what you did. After my ankle/foot surgery 3 weeks ago only one person brought a dish to help ease the strain for my husband. Now it could be that all my friends knew I had eight meals planned, cooked and frozen ahead of time or it could be that this valuable part of community building is gone. I am on a mission to revive this lost tradition and it starts with me. So as my friends are waiting for babies I am cooking up a storm for them. Heheh.
I am making each family Lasagna, Tamale Pie and Cheese Enchiladas. It's been good for us too because I am making our daily dinner right along side their dinners but while we eat ours, I freeze theirs. This is my present to each family because chances are they both have a TON of pink stuff. I will buy pink stuff just not yet.
This is the basic recipe for a favorite dinner I make for us. When I made it this week I doubled it and made 3 tamale pies and 4 stuffed chilies.
Tamale Pie and Stuffed Peppers preheat oven to 350
4 poblano chili peppers or sweet bell peppers
1 pound 93% lean ground beef
1/2 medium onion chopped
2 chopped garlic cloves
1 20 ounce can of Rosarita Enchilada Sauce-I like this one best you can use others
1 cup frozen corn
1 1/2 cups dried polenta
4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup of grated sharp cheese
sour cream or Mexican Crema to cut the heat of the peppers
Bring the 4 cups of water to a boil add the salt and polenta whisking to incorporate
reduce heat and simmer slowly for 20 minutes stirring occasionally
brown the ground beef with the onion and garlic
drain any fat and add the enchilada sauce and corn stirring to mix thoroughly, reduce heat
to low and just keep warm
spray a pie pan with non stick spray carefully take 1/3 of the polenta and form a crust in the bottom of the pan and up the sides
bake for 10 minutes int he 350 degree oven
meanwhile wash the peppers and carefully cut a small piece out of one side making a pocket big enough to remove the seeds-check your peppers to see which way they lay best
take 1/3 of the polenta and evenly split it between the 4 peppers saving a bit tip top each pepper
on top of the polenta add a spoon full of beef mixture then pop on the last of the polenta
place the peppers in a pie pan and set them aside
then remove the pie pan from the oven add the rest of the beef mixture and top with the last of the polenta to form a top crust
pop the peppers and the pie in the oven and bake for 25 minutes
remove and sprinkle both with the cheese let them rest for 5 minutes and serve with the cour cream
If you have no desire for stuffed peppers then by all means simply bake this in an 11X7 pan, 2 regular pie pans or 1 very deep pie pan. I make the stuffed chili peppers for my husband and I and the pie for my kids because my kids can't take the heat. If you are a small family this can definitely be 2 meals, cook one and freeze the other.
Here is the pie, pre cheese.
The peppers-this is actually a picture of the first batch I made where I cut them in half, a very big mistake. They wanted to wallow every where so I used a couple big toothpicks to hold them together. I have since refined the process to simply cutting a small piece out of one side and stufing them that way.
And this is a boy who wants spring to come. Yes, he is wearing sandals. No, he is NOT wearing pants.
Also, on another note: People with the dog in my local coffee shop-Coffee shops do not want your dog lunging for fresh bread and cookies. We the patrons DO NOT WANT to have your stanky dog leaping around hairing everyone and being a PAIN. We are not MEANIES who hate 'doggies' we just don't want your dog in THE COFFEE SHOP. And please do you realize how stupid you look as a grown up calling your dog "doggie" yeah I thought so. Doggie...sheesh.