Birthday Dinner

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Mario's birthday (and my half birthday) was a week ago today. As a grownup, when your birthday falls on a weekday life must go on around it. Still, I wanted it to be special.  But also attainable. Which means homemade cheesecake on a school night wasn't going to happen. Luckily, Mario is easily pleased.

One of his favorite meals that I make is chicken enchiladas. I don't make them enough, actually. They are easy peasy and freeze like a breeze. I'm so clever. I found the recipe ages ago in a cookbook Mario brought into the relationship. The only issue? It's a professional cookbook with weird measurements and crazy portions meant for restaurants. And when you flip the  page that allegedly contains the recipe for green enchilada sauce? A recipe for red enchilada sauce. So I put on my thinking cap and made it my own. Enjoy!

Sarah's Easy Green Chicken Enchiladas


2 cups (16oz) canned green enchilada sauce
1 rotisserie chicken, meat removed and shredded
12oz shredded Monterey Jack cheese
6oz sour cream (I use "light")
12 corn tortillas (slightly more or less depending on how much you fill them)

Combine the shredded chicken, sour cream, and half the cheese in a medium bowl. Warm the enchilada sauce in a medium saucepan on low heat. Careful not to get it too hot... your fingers are going in there!  Gently coat each corn tortilla in the sauce and lay it in a greased baking dish.  Place approximately 2 tbsp of filling along the middle and roll, seam facing down. If the tortillas crack, don't fret! It all works out. Pack the enchiladas in there (I usually have 4-6 along one edge of the baking dish to fill the gap) until you run out of filling. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the top. Sprinkle on remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees until the cheese has melted and the edges are bubbly (approx. 15-20 minutes).

A birthday celebration is not complete without a cake, of course. I would normally bake from scratch, but alas. The frosting, however, is always homemade these days.

I bought a Duncan Hines chocolate cake mix and baked it into two 9" round baking pans. Once cooled, I whipped up some peanut butter frosting and went to work. This recipe is adapted from one of my all time favorite cookbooks, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. I doubled it and had enough to generously frost a 2-layer cake. In my early blogging days I featured recipes from this cookbook almost weekly. I originally bought it because of Jared's dairy allergy, but found that their cupcakes are far better than the real thing. Honestly, you will never need to buy frosting again.

Vegan Peanut Buttercream Frosting


1/4 cup margarine, softened (I use Earth Balance sticks)
2 Tbsp non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening (in the health food section of most grocery stores)
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter (I use Skippy Natural--it isn't oily so the frosting won't separate)
1 Tbsp molasses (the recipe says "optional", but I disagree... it's a must!)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1-2 Tbsp milk alternative (rice, soy and almond all work really well)

In a mixer (I use my KitchenAid, but a handheld mixer would work, too), cream together margarine and shortening on medium speed until well combined and fluffy. Add the peanut butter, vanilla and molasses and beat until smooth (approx. 2-3 minutes). Beat in sugar gradually until well combined (frosting will be stiff). Slowly drizzle in the milk alternative until a fluffy, creamy texture is reached (I usually only need a couple drizzles). Frost your creation as usual. Any leftovers can be eaten with a spoon refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a couple weeks. For the cake, I used an icing knife to spread it over the layers. I ran it under warm water, dried it off, and resumed when the frosting started to stick.

The boys devoured it. I'm not a big cake person, but it so closely resembled a Reese's peanut butter cup that I had to resist the urge to take the whole thing and eat it with a fork while watching the lost footage episode of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. I wish I had time for such scandalous behavior.


  1. I am pinning this enchilada recipe - it looks yummy and easy too :-)

  2. That enchilada recipe sounds amazing!

  3. Well Happy (belated) Birthdays to all. Looks like a delicious celebration dinner.

    1. Thanks, Nicki! It was a great night. As we get older, our birthdays get simpler. I love that.


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