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A Truly 10 Minute Meal

Ok, so we don't normally go for the whole "30 minute meal" fad, much less meals that can be made in less time. Neither of us can remember the last time we used our crockpot (I'm not even sure where it is). We're more of the "enjoy cooking together while sharing some wine and decompressing after a long day" crowd. On weekends, it isn't abnormal for us to spend most of the evening cooking a multi-course dinner for each other--just because.

That said, I was browsing Facebook recently and saw a post from a friend with small kids asking for suggestions on recipes for a truly 10 minute meal to fix for her family during the week. Fair request--especially when life is hectic and there's little time for luxury. However, Natalie and I were a bit horrified to see the responses from the community at large. There were referrals to Taco Bueno's "Wholotta Box" as the perfect option. People suggested delicacies from Lean Cuisine. Hungry-Man frozen dinners were raved about. And, of course, no set of 10 minute meal posts would be complete without myriad "dinner-in-a-bowl" crock pot classics. In short, there weren't many "good" (and by that, I mean edible) options presented.

Now let's be frank here: we're all rushed for time every now and then. And we get that people (us included) can't afford caviar and foie gras for every meal. When those two things align, an inexpensive 10 minute meal is better than no meal at all. But does that meal have to involve a sandwich, or mediocre frozen food? Absolutely not. 10 minutes doesn't have to mean "no taste."

So, challenge accepted, we set out to prove that a 10 minute meal can be quick, satisfying, inexpensive, and actually tasty. And we succeeded!

Now, the key to a truly 10 minute meal is the protein you use. If you need to roast a chicken or sous-vide a steak, you're not going to make it in 10 minutes. But, pre-cooked protein doesn't have to mean frozen. For our experiment, we picked up a garlic/herb rotisserie chicken from our local grocery store. Cheap, tasty, and pre-cooked for convenience. And, weighing in at over 2 pounds (3 if you get yours from Costco), it provides plenty of meat for the entire family. But, what to do with the chicken now that we had it? We opted to make green chili and shredded chicken enchiladas, that's what. So, what else did we need to make this meal happen? See shopping list below:

1 jar of green chili sauce

1 pound of pre-shredded cheese (we used a 3-cheese blend)

1 package of tortillas (we opted for low-carb chia tortillas)

1 tub of sour cream

1 plastic container of pre-made guacamole

fresh salsa and/or pico from the pre-made bar

queso cheese spread from pre-made bar (optional)

1 fresh jalapeno

We're not going to lie--pretty much anyone can put these together and make them edible. Super easy, super quick. You might even have a couple minutes left over to grab a beer from the fridge! Here's what you need to do:

1. Shred the chicken with a fork or your hands.

2. Mix some green chili sauce into the bowl of newly-shredded chicken until the mix is gummy but not really wet.

3. Add diced jalapenos if you want spicy, and a little queso if you bought some.

4. Spoon chicken into a tortilla and roll into an enchilada. Place in a glass baking dish. Repeat until dish is full.

5. Spread green chili sauce over enchiladas.

6. Drizzle some additional queso over enchiladas (if you purchased queso), and spread shredded cheese over everything. Place jalapeno slices on top.

7. Place in oven pre-heated to 350 degrees until cheese is melted and bubbly.

8. Remove from oven, cut and serve. Spread pico/salsa, sour cream, and guacamole on top.

9. Enjoy your status as a kitchen hero.

Now, let's be honest--this is probably not the most gorgeous meal you'll ever make. But it isn't supposed to be either. Instead, it's quick, delicious, filling, and easy. And, you may even have enough for leftovers! Perfect for watching football or for lunch at work the next day. So, next time you're in a hurry, don't settle for "Hungry Man" frozen dinners, or a cardboard frozen pizza. Try to cook something. These enchiladas really do hit the spot.

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