This past weekend, much of Charlie’s side of the family (kids and all) took a little road trip up to Mitchell South Dakota. Sadly, the trip was to attend a funeral. But, despite our sadness, we also tried to make the most of the time together as a family.
Part of the route we followed up was the same as the route Charlie and I took quite frequently when driving back and forth from North Dakota in college. I was homesick, and he was sweet, so we drove home for pretty much every holiday. Christmas, Thanksgiving, Labor Day, National Eat A Doughnut Day… Ok I exaggerate, but only a little. Boy oh boy, did the trip to South Dakota bring back memories of those college trip days. Sixteen hours in the car. Traveling through snow and endless nowhere. Me, Charlie, and two cats. (In a fairly small car I might add.)
Yeah, I had two pet cats, and I just had to bring them home with me every trip. Monster (cat #1, my very fuzzy orange tabby) used to try to sit perched on my neck the entire trip. I’m pretty sure I was probably allergic to him (though I didn’t know at the time) because my neck would get kinda red and itchy by the end of the trip. But, if we put him in his cat carrier like we were supposed to, he would yowl like he was being eaten by the walking dead. And he could yowl for a long long time. Naturally, he never stayed in his cat box for long.
And then there was cat #2, Squeaker. Squeaker was a tiny little grey cat, and afraid of pretty much everything in the universe other then Charlie, myself, and Monster. He had the tiniest little meow, that came out more like a tiny little squeak (Obviously you can see where his name came from). Now, Squeaker just so happened to get car sick. Please try to imagine 16 hours in a car with a car sick cat. (Yeah, I was clearly an idiot in college.) But despite all this, our trips were fun, and are surprisingly fond and happy memories now. Charlie and I certainly had a good laugh as we talked about those days.
I hope we’ll look back on our South Dakota trip with the same fondness some day. Like any family trip, we had grumpy mommy moments, bad coffee, overtired children, hotel beds that weren’t so hot on the back (Plus the hips, knees, shoulder, well pretty much any body part you care to name. Charlie and I are getting finicky about sleeping surfaces in our “old age”!) and so forth… Though, honestly it was a much easier trip then the one to North Dakota. 9 hours instead of 16. No barfing cats. Bigger car. (Oh, man I so love my new car!) And the kids behaved so so well (iPads are the most brilliant thing for car trips ever). Plus, despite the sad reason for the trip, there was some time for fun. We got to visit with family and friends over a few nice meals. We got time to play with the boys, and my cutie of a niece. (The kids all had a blast in the pool, which happened to have a pretty excellent water slide.) We got to check out the town, and look for special places from my husband’s memories. And even the funeral was a chance to honor a long life, thoroughly lived. Plus, I take great comfort knowing we will see her again someday; and there will be no more death, sorrow, suffering, or pain then. It’s not quite so hard to take when its viewed in the light of that beautiful promise.
For fear of sounding overly nostalgic, or mushy gushy, I will also mention that the one thing that did keep running though my head the entire time was that quote, “The days are long but the years are short.” I have no idea where it comes from, but its entirely too true. The days feel long sometimes. Often, even. It’s so easy to get caught up in the grind of daily life. To waste too much time waiting for some event in the future that you think will make things better. But the years, they fly by so fast. And before you know it all those times are just memories. It reminds me not to forget to enjoy the days, grumpy kids, car sick cats, aches and pains, and all.
Sorry… that was kind of mushy gushy I guess. I’ll quit being a dork and move on to the the recipe now. I decided to share these brisket enchiladas with you today, because they’re the kind of meal you make a big ole’ pan of and gather around the table with the family to eat too much and just talk, and everyone leaves the table full and happy. (Naturally, because brisket, melty cheese, too many carbs, and green chile makes most people pretty happy.) So, make these for your next family meal, and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.
Green Chile Brisket Enchiladas – Yields a 9X 12 pan with 10 enchiladas.
- drizzle of canola oil
- 27 oz can, Diced hatch green chiles
- 1 large tomato
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon cumin
- red pepper, to taste
- salt to taste
- 10 small tortillas
- 16 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese + additional for serving
- 1 lb. brisket, cooked and chopped. (I used a pound of my Darn Good Oven Brisket.)
- Add the canola oil, green chiles, tomato, garlic powder, paprika, cumin, red pepper, and salt to a food processor. Pulse on low until the tomato is broken down and a semi smooth sauce in formed. Adjust red pepper and salt to taste and remix as needed.
- Pour a small amount of sauce on the bottom of a 9X12 baking dish. Use a spoon to spread the sauce so the entire bottom of the pan is covered. Set the rest of the sauce aside.
- Fill each tortilla very full with brisket and cheese (try to divide more or less evenly among the 10 tortillas). Roll the tortilla around the filling and place seam side down in the baking dish, lining the tortillas up next to each other. Two enchiladas will need to be placed sidewise along the bottom of the pan. Pour the remaining sauce over all the enchiladas spreading to ensure they are all covered.
- Cover the pan with foil and bake at 375* on the middle rack for an hour. Remove the foil and sprinkle with a little additional cheese if desired. Bake for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the enchiladas to sit for about 5 minutes before serving (They serve much neater this way.) Serve hot with additional cheese, diced tomato, and sour cream for garnish if desired.