Monday, December 27, 2010

The Mexican Fiesta

I knew I was going to be home this past weekend, and since the husband and I don't celebrate Christmas, I was going to have some time on my hands. Wednesday night I told him I'd have all day so I'd make him anything he wanted for dinner. I'll admit this was a bit of a loaded question. I was hoping he'd tell me he wanted a nice ham, or maybe a roast. You know what I'm saying- something that tastes like it was a ton of work, but really wasn't.

He said "I want a Mexican Fiesta!"

So that's what he got. Thursday night I compiled a list of recipes and ingredients and on Friday I headed to the store. Allow me to pause for a moment here. Do you know what day Friday was? That's right, it was December 24- the day before Christmas- the day before all stores in the area shut down- D-Day!

Christmas Eve is not a good day to be at the mega grocery store sin the area. I had to park so far from the entrance I would have been better off walking from my home. That wasn't so bad, but then upon entry of the store I realized what I had done to myself. There was a battle going on over a free cart (Why? I don't know. There was a whole row of free carts right next to the door). I quickly slipped in, grabbed a cart, and rolled it toward produce.

This was my first time at this particular super mega grocery. I wasn't familiar with the layout. As normal, when you first walk in you're in the produce section. This was a good thing, as produce was numero uno on my list. However, the aisles at this store were not set up very well. There was barely enough room for one cart to eek down them, but sure enough in the center of each aisle there was a great power struggle over who would turn back with their tail between the legs and allow the other to pass, and who would come out victorious and just roll on by.

I quickly grabbed 5 produce bags at the end of the pepper aisle, left my cart there, and ran down to grab my peppers. I repeated this process for each aisle, getting dirty looks each time.

Then I made my way to the special dairy section, where they had 2 of the 6 different kinds of cheese I needed.... Thank god I braved the big store :-/

Next was to the meat section, where for some reason every person in the store had congregated into a huge pile of stupidity- mouths hanging open, no real words coming out. It was craziness. That's when I was run over by the most people at any time during my visit to the store. The people in front of me apparently wanted to hang out and gab. The people behind me wanted to push their way through the store, and those ahead of them along with it. Those of us sad suckers stuck in the middle couldn't do anything but look at each other and grumble.

I don't know where the baking aisle in that store is. I never did find it. However, I did find the International Foods aisle. "Great," I thought to myself, "I'll be able to grab the taco seasoning packets I need!" Well, let's put it this way. Christmas Eve was not my day. International Foods had food from every country I could think of, with the marked exception of Mexico. There was even a small Latino section, which of course did not have taco seasoning.

Next was frozen foods, where I made the quick decision to get the hell out of that store and make my way back to my friendly neighborhood grocer for the remainder of my ingredients. So on to the cashier, who was gabbing to the poor soul in front of me about Christmas shopping. The customer in front of me left, and the cashier said to me "So do you have your Christmas shopping done yet?" Hm.. let's see, I'm sitting in your register line right now. What do you think? I gave her a quick uh-huh, and stood in complete silence as she rambled on about her gifts. She couldn't finish with my order fast enough.

Thankfully the rest of my shopping trip was much less eventful. Customers all over the local place were complaining about what a madhouse it was, but had they been in the 7th circle of hell I'd just returned from they would have been happy as clams where they were.

So then Saturday was cooking day, but it also turned into cleaning day because the husband invited his family over for dinner (I was perfectly okay with that, but would have liked a little more notice so I didn't have to do it all that day). In order to get all 8 dishes done on time (we eventually decided to scratch 2 dishes off the list because we had so much food and I didn't have the energy for them), and also get the apartment clean, I had to get it all started around 7:45 am. And on I went until after 8 pm, when I finally got a chance to sit down on the couch and promptly fell asleep.

Since I had so many dishes to make, I used other recipes instead of formulating my own. So I'll link the recipes I used from here. I did alter some of them a bit, but I'm sure they're equally delicious the way they are, so I'm leaving my alterations out of it.

We started out with a Queso Blanco Dip

Then we moved on to Stuffed Peppers

Then Corn, Jalapeno, and Cheese soup

Then we had Steak Quesadillas

Then came the Chicken Fajitas, which I failed to get a picture of, and also didn't find a recipe for. I ended up basically chopping up onions and peppers, boiling the chicken in chicke broth until it was almoct cooked, and then adding the chicken, veggies, and some of the broth to a skillet with taco seasonings. I cooked that until the sauce was thickened, added a bit more broth, and then let that simmer for a few minutes before serving.

Lastly was the Mexican Chocolate Pie for dessert.

All in all we were happy with the Fiesta. I was exhausted by the end of the day, but all the food was delicious and it was well worth it.