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Hi, I'm Pantry Raid

Otherwise known as Carrie Rowe & Diana Schmidt, we're well fed, thrifty and have more than meals falling from our pantries.   Diana is a recovering food snob who is always anticipating her next meal. She thinks a good pantry should give you...
Pantry Raid

How Salsa Saved Dinner

Pantry Raid
Soon dinner will be falling from your pantries too. By Pantry Raid on April 22, 2011

There are just some nights that it’s way too easy to let chips and salsa be dinner. You kid yourself that salsa is a vegetable, corn chips are a grain, one thing leads to another and you’re left staring at an empty six pack while shaking out the last remaining drop of salsa onto your paper clip sized chip. Describing the scene sounds more pathetic than fun and that’s not what we’re going for at dinner o’clock.


In our determination to lead a more refined life with actual meals we’ve decided to dress up those chips and salsa in a disguise that lets us keep our dignity. Dignity in this case goes by the name of enchilada.


The beauty of this revelation that salsa can be dinner came on a night where barely any fresh ingredients were in the fridge, none that felt like dinner anyway. This was a pantry raid dinner in its truest definition: tomatillo salsa, rice and black beans from the pantry, spinach and corn tortillas from the freezer, leftover mushrooms, onions, sour cream and chevre from the refrigerator. Within 20 minutes those few things were assembled and became dinner, an incredibly delicious one we might add. And that, food friends, is how a weeknight meal of salsa and chips made a magical journey from pathetic to dignified.



Skillet Enchiladas


This recipe is based on what we had on hand, and can be that versatile for you too. Had we had leftover chicken on hand or a sweet potato in the pantry, those would have been made into enchiladas just as quickly and deliciously. Any cheese or any salsa could step up and work just fine. Even the sparsest pantry with just an onion rolling around would yield some pretty fantastic enchiladas, maybe some rice and beans on the side. Let our recipe be a mere framework to whatever is in your pantry tonight.


Serves 4


1 package corn tortillas

Canola spray or 2 tablespoons canola oil

1 jar Salpica Tomatillo Olive salsa (or any salsa of choice)

1 10-ounce bag frozen spinach, thawed & squeezed dry

1/2 red onion, sliced into rings

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 cup button mushrooms, sliced

6 - 8 ounces chevre, crumbled (or any cheese of choice)

3 tablespoons sour cream


1. Lay half the tortillas out on a baking sheet and spray both sides of the tortillas (or brush) with oil. Lay the remaining tortillas on top and spray their tops too. Bake in a 300 degree oven to warm and soften, only about 3-5 minutes (don’t let them dry out.) Stack them, wrap them in a towel to keep warm and set aside.


2. Meanwhile, blend the salsa in a blender or with an emersion blender until smooth. Transfer into a sauté pan over medium heat. Bring just below the boil and add the sour cream, stir to combine and cover to keep warm off the heat.


3. Sauté the onions, garlic and mushrooms over medium high heat until vegetables are tender. Add the spinach to heat through and turn off the heat.


4. Set the tortillas, sauce, serving plates, veggie mixture and cheese in an assembly line – in that order. Using your fingers or a tongs, dip a tortilla into the warm salsa coating both sides. Set on plate and put about 3 tablespoons of the veggie mixture down the center, add crumbled cheese and roll into a tube. Repeat with all of the tortillas.


5. If you work quickly and everything is hot/warm, dinner is done. Just add some rice and beans if you like and the eating can commence. If you’re still rounding up your diners or are preparing your dinner ahead of time, place the filled tortillas into a baking dish and cover with foil. They can be reheated in the microwave or oven – if you’re a cheese lover, more cheese can be crumbled or shredded on top and thrown under the broiler before serving.


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