Victoria (V4) is still not herself, and tonight she was running a fever again–peaked at 101.6. So not high, but low-grade fever over a long period of time is obviously not a happy thing.
Anyway, since I work from home, we homeschool, we have other activities, its hard to get decent food on the table every night. But after relying on takeout and other options for a while during V4’s illness, I can’t stand to spend the money or eat the calories. Our friends who moved to India introduced us to one of their favorite pantry meals before they moved away. [Pantry meal: something that can be prepared almost entirely from frozen or shelf-stable foods and a bit of whatever might be in the fridge at the time.]
It’s called Mexican Fish and Chips. It is not Mexican, nor does it involve fish at all. I think it was so named because it involves some Mexican flavors and chips (Doritos, actually), and they are (as we were) vegetarian, so beans stand in for fish. Or maybe I am totally wrong. I’ll ask next time we’re in India. 😉
Here’s how I make it:
Mix together the following:
1 can black beans, drained (can = 1 1/2-2 cups)
1 can pinto beans, drained
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 can tomato sauce
about a cup of frozen corn
about 1/3-1/2 package of taco seasoning [see notes]
Put 1/2 the mixture in a casserole dish, top with some Doritos [see notes] — crushed or intact, as desired — and some shredded white cheddar cheese. Put in remaining mixture, top with Doritos and cheese again. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes [see notes]. Enjoy with or without sour cream, salsa, or avocado for extra flavor.
**I tried to get by without the taco seasoning. I am not a seasoning mix person. But Eggmaster was quick to recognize that my Mexican Fish and Chips was not as good as the Fish and Chips Indian Ex-Pat Friend used to make. So I use part of a seasoning packet, then roll it up and put the rest in the fridge (I assume it would last forever). I haven’t looked to see if I can find a DIY recipe or a “natural” version.
**Likewise, Doritos are a crucial element. You need that Dorito flavor. If there is a “more healthful” version of this chip let me know. In the meantime, I buy “Natural Doritos,” whatever those are. Must be the first time I’ve bought a bag of Doritos since. . . ever. I’m not a nacho cheese chip kind of gal.
**Everything is cooked, so long-cooking time is not essential. Especially if you have a convection option (we can choose either), you can get away with 20 minutes. But the extra 10 minutes really does improve the flavor.
**I am a weird eater who does not like big tomato chunks or bell peppers, but these would probably be naturals if you have them around. I have also eaten MFC with broccoli, and it was good, but I think I prefer it on the side. Olives, green chiles, chopped onion — all possible toss-ins
I know this meal hardly sounds special, but it is fairly nutritious, the kids like it, we like it, its easy, and it tastes good. We also like MFC because it reminds us of our friends–zealous vegetarians and great hosts!
On that score, I want to come clean and say I like Rachel Ray’s Everyday magazine and I totally don’t get the food police attitude towards her. I don’t have cable or watch commercial TV, so I can’t be influenced by her supposed oversaturation of the media. And she’s not my first stop for an impressive dessert, a classic recipe, or party planning. It’s not restaurant food (I get Bon Appetit for that), but it’s food you can throw together on most any day, using real, fresh ingredients rather than boxed, processed stuff. What’s wrong with that? And it tastes good. I am for it.