#AtoZChallenge: O is for Owning the Night (or at Least the Skillet)

photo credit: Week 1 PhotoChallenge2016 B&W Min 02 via photopin (license)
photo credit: Week 1 PhotoChallenge2016 B&W Min 02 via photopin (license)

A man can accomplish much in life with basic life gear.

OCover him with a ball cap from his beloved baseball team. Anoint him with a distinctive after shave. Place him behind the wheel of an automobile he’ll name, shine, neglect, restore, and trust to transport those he loves and carry him to buy corn tortillas and shin guards.

Arm him with a cast-iron skillet, and don’t be late for dinner.

Weekend cooking’s my thing. It’s easier on weekends free of soccer. Sunday night, I returned to my roots. Yes, those roots (enchiladas), but also the roots established in frontier days, when a guy’s essentials included a fast horse, a scruffy beard, a miner’s hat and a skillet.

(Harmonica optional.)

I snagged (and enhanced) a recipe on Ready Set Eat for Chicken Enchilada Skillet. It went a little something like this.

What you’ll need

  • Olive oil (a splash here, a splash there)
  • 12 corn tortillas, torn into bite-sized pieces (bonus if they’re shaped like U.S. states)
  • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 10-oz. can diced tomatoes and green chilies, undrained
  • 10-oz. can red enchilada sauce
  • 8-oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup (ha!) shredded cheese (we like cheddar, Colby, Colby jack, monterrey jack, mozzarella, white American … wait, where am I?)

What you’ll do

1. Slosh a few circles of olive oil in a cast-iron skillet. Actually turn on the heat

2. Defrost a chunk of chicken strips you’d frozen and forgot to take out.

3. Toss the chicken in the skillet. Poke around and cook it enough that you can shred it right there in your skillet. No weenie non-stick plastic spatula necessary when you cook in an iron skillet.


4. Ask your hungry teenage daughter to rip up a dozen corn tortillas if she’s really that keen to eat before 8 p.m. (Praise her for her efficient ripping.)

5. Cook chicken and tortilla mini-states for about 5 minutes. Stir it around and slosh some more olive oil in the mix so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

6. Pour undrained tomatoes, enchilada and tomato sauces onto your chicken/tortilla mix. Stir well, and add cheese. The recipe calls for half a cup. Ha! Puny God. The Maker made my fist big enough to pump after a disc-golf ace, and also to add copious amounts of cheese in an instant.


7. Also, no offense, my Caucasian counterparts – but when y’all concoct recipes like this, you sometimes forget Latin spice. I tossed in a bit of cumin and chipotle pepper as homage to my heritage.

8. Mix cheese in for a melty taste of heaven. Another fistful of cheese won’t add itself. Go for broke, lad.

9. Cover skillet, and cook for another 5 minutes or so. Check your email or Twitter, and stir it up a bit. Wait, is there enough cheese? You know what to do.

10. Sprinkle with any remaining cheese, and serve post-haste.

Minimalists take their skillet enchiladas in a bowl.

El Minimalisto.
El Minimalisto.

The ambitious call for their skillet enchiladas served inside tortillas, as enchiladas (think Inception, con queso).

El Maravilloso.
El Maravilloso.

Royalty? They call for Skillet Enchiladas … Del Rey!

Del Rey! Con quesadilla, crema, tomatillo sauce
Del Rey! Con quesadilla, crema, tomatillo sauce

“What’s that mean, dad?”

“Skillet Enchiladas … For a King!”

“Uhm-hmm …”

You can flick a man’s favorite team’s cap off his baffled head.

You can bust his bottle of after shave and spill your water jug all over the floorboard of his 2004 Pontiac.

But you cannot deny him his moment to shine with his skillet.

skillet quote


  1. amommasview says:

    When can I come over for an enchilada dinner?

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      7:30 sharp. Bring rum. Or dessert. Or both!

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        I’ll get an extra tub of sour cream.

  2. What a coincidence! I made enchiladas tonight for the first time in over 5 years! (Just discovered a new non-dairy “cheese” that was actually pretty good). I’ll have to make your recipe soon. So deelish.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      April 17 should be declared enchilada day, Sue. Any day is fit for enchiladas, let’s be honest.

      Let me know how this recipe works for you. I had no open complaints!

  3. Lyn says:

    Yes, me too please!! LOL tonight I had sauteed mushrooms with a hint of garlic on two slices of toast. Can’t be bothered cooking for just me.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      We’ll set another spot, Lyn. Your dinner actually sounds pretty good. Especially if you toss that on a steak!

      1. Lyn says:

        I love a good steak! But sadly, no steak in the freezer this time 😦

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Steak is like, Christmas basically. Not for Christmas … like Christmas.

  4. Eric says:

    An enchilada inside an enchilada? There’s always room for more cheese. If one is questioning if there’s enough in it, there is clearly not enough. Better make extra. I’ll be there with Sandra.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Mind blown, right Eric? I’ve never uttered the words, “that’s just too much cheese.” I wrote about it, once.

      Elise can babysit Crash and Bang.

  5. Looks better than what I had for dinner last night as it was salad from Burger King as I was running from soccer than to a kid’s birthday party and by the time I turned around it was way past dinner time. Sadly it was the healthiest and quickest option. But this by far sounded like a winner. Only one question…what time is dinner??

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Salad from a burger place is just wrong, JH. Healthy, yes, but … Whoppers. This dinner seemed to to okay – I’d give it a B.

      Dinner’s at 7:30, unless there’s soccer, then it might be 8:30 or 9. You coming? Can you pick up a bottle of Coke Zero?

      Oh, and rum …

  6. Nikki says:

    THAT looks delicious. Even the picky eaters in my house might eat it. Wanna fly to Nebraska and play personal chef for me? I’d pay in cheesecake…or maybe brownies with vanilla ice cream?

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Nikki. There’s a direct correlation between cheese proportion and likelihood a kid or gaggle of kids will eat any given dinner dish.

      I’d take that flight! Or maybe I could do the cross-country trip and make stops along the way. Toss in a comfy couch to crash on and a dash of rum, and you’ve got a deal!

      1. Nikki says:

        Cross country would probably be more fun but definitely more time consuming. In that event a comfy couch, rum and laughs would be a fair trade.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        There should be a blogger/chef exchange program. Maybe the millennials will make an app for it.

  7. Cool blog! Your enchiladas look good!

  8. Rorybore says:

    seriously drooling here.
    P.S Harmonica NOT optional. 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It was good stuff, Rore. Grab you a bowl.

      I used to carry my harmonica everywhere. Something tells me I should start up again.

      1. Rorybore says:

        Imma get me a ukulele…. we’re going on the road!! LOL

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        only if we cover Metallica and Josh Groban favorites.

  9. ksbeth says:

    this sounds so good, and i love the skillet question )

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      can’t go wrong with more cheese and skillet questions, beth. you just can’t.

  10. My Dad is a fried egg master and he taught me. The secret is an old cast iron skillet (from frontier days)…and lots of butter. Over-easy anyone?

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It’s slow as hell, but I also like to make pancakes in the skillet. They just taste better, Jen. Your dad has the right idea.

      1. Pancakes on a griddle over a campfire. The best!

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Beats under-cooked scrambled eggs on a pop-up gas stove. Not that I know anything about that, Jenn.

  11. Rhonda Albom says:

    mmm… Those enchiladas look delicious.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Rhonda – they might make an encore performance. (Not those exact enchiladas, but their descendants.)

  12. Kisma says:

    Now I know what to use the red enchilada sauce bought by mistake that’s been sitting in the back pantry for a bit! Bonus: I have a cast iron skillet! 😉

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It was fate, Tiff. Let me know how it goes? It’s way easy.

      Especially if someone tears up the corn tortillas for you.

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