Most children have had some introduction to Mexican food, whether it's a visit to Taco Belle or an order of guacamole and chips at the local cantina. Nonetheless, it's hard for families with picky eaters to even think about vacationing in Mexico, one of the world's best value and most intriguing destinations, because they have no idea what the children will eat.
I know that kids' stubborn reluctance to try new things can be tougher to cure than a bout of stranger anxiety. So before departing on your next vacation to a new culture or destination, why not bring some foods of the region to your dinner table? "Introducing Kids To Foreign Foods" has tips on foreign dishes that kids love as well as some recipes that are easy to cook together.
If you're heading south of the border or anywhere in Mexico (and here's a great directory of Mexico family vacation ideas), this easy to prepare and healthy recipe for Mexican Enchiladas from AllRecipes.com is a good place to start.
Enchiladas, a tasty filling of meat, chicken, beans or vegetables — wrapped with cheese in a soft tortilla blanketed in fresh green chili or tomato sauce — is a basic Mexican dish that all ages are sure to enjoy. It takes about 45 minutes to prepare the ingredients and, since some chopping is involved, you may want to ask older siblings to help out.
To mix it up a bit, you can use pork, beef or chopped veggies instead of chicken as a filling, and experiment with different sauces. If the kids love wrapping foods in tortillas (and who doesn't?), start them off at breakfast with gently cooked scrambled eggs wrapped in a tortilla and served with mild salsa or ketchup on the side.
Preparing Enchiladas Suizas or Mexican Enchiladas
Ingredients for Salsa Verde used in Enchiladas Suizas
2 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup chopped Spanish onion
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup chopped green chile peppers (mild if you prefer)
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 dash ground cumin
Ingredients for chicken or meat filling used in Enchiladas Suizas
12 (8 inch) corn tortillas
canola oil for frying
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (a white Mexican farmers cheese can be used instead)
1 cup shredded mild Cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded, cooked chicken breast meat (you can take the skin off a barbecued chicken from the deli and use light and dark meat if you are short on time)
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1/2 cup sliced green olives
1 pint cherry tomatoes
Directions for Preparing, Cooking and Serving Enchiladas
Prepare salsa verde: Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Saute the onion until soft. Stir in the flour. Add the broth, then add the chiles, garlic, salt, and cumin. Simmer about 15 minutes to blend flavors, then set aside. If you have really fussy eaters, you may want to skip this and try serving the first batch of enchiladas with the kids' favorite tomato sauce.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C.) In a heavy skillet, lightly fry tortillas in shallow oil, being careful not to make them too crisp to roll. Combine the cheeses and keep 1/2 cup aside for topping. Dip each tortilla in salsa verde (both sides.) Place 2 heaping tablespoons chicken or your preferred filling and about 2 tablespoons cheese down the center of each; roll and place seam side down in a shallow dish. This recipe feeds four if you serve 3 enchiladas to each guest.
After all the rolled tortillas are in the dish, spoon additional salsa verde or preferred sauce over them and then cover evenly with heavy cream. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese mixture, and with the green onions. Bake uncovered in preheated oven for 20 minutes.
Serve immediately, garnished with the olives, cherry tomatoes, and with additional salsa on the side. If the kids like chips, have a bowl handy so they can scoop up the extra cheese and sauce after the enchiladas are all gone.
From Mexico, Enchiladas Recipe by: Lady Gwyn; Photo by: Allrecipes courtesy of AllRecipes.com
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