Birthday Food!!!

  • We had a birthday celebration last Friday at our house!!! One of my heavenly rewards turned 22 years of age. At our house, everyone gets to choose his/her birthday meal and the flavor of their cake/treat. The birthday girl chose enchiladas, festive rice, and chocolate cake frosted to resemble a tree stump with cacti on it. As I was preparing the rice, it came to me how the meal she chose while festive is also very, very easy to prepare, the best sort of meal there is. Right? And the best recipes should always be shared. So, here it is, our version of enchiladas and festive rice. Both recipes are able to feed a group of 8-16, including the hearty appetites of hard workers.

    Disclaimer: I have NO IDEA whether our family's version of enchiladas is authentic or not. It is what I came up with when the kiddos were little and our budget was practically non-existent. We live in the Midwest region of the country so if they aren't just right you can blame it on that. Feel free to shrug your shoulders and say "What do cattle ranchers in the Midwest know about enchiladas anyway?" Hahahaha. 


    Ground beef(4-5 lbs.)

    Refried beans(32 oz. can or homemade equivalent, we use whichever we have on hand)

    Tomato sauce(2 - 32 oz. cans or home-canned equivalent)

    Chili powder to taste

    cumin to taste

    garlic powder to taste

    small can diced green chilis or fresh chopped as desired

    onion(1/2 med. onion finely diced)

    garlic(approx. 5 cloves finely minced)

    2 pkg. of burrito size flour tortillas(14-20 tortillas)

    Cheddar, Monterey Jack, and/or Pepper Jack cheese shredded (4 c. or however much you prefer)

    Brown ground beef, onion, and garlic together. When fully browned, add refried beans and stir together. (I added 1/2 fresh chopped jalapeno to this mixture last Friday. I don't always have fresh peppers on hand so this is optional.) Remove from heat. 

    Combine tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, chilis and garlic powder in mixing bowl. I don't measure the spices, but the amount of chili powder used is always more than seems would be needed. It is probably around 1/4 c. The cumin and garlic powder are not nearly that much. Again, I don't measure but would approximate it to be around 1/8 - 1/4 t. cumin and 1-2 t. garlic powder. I dump, mix, and smell adjusting until it smells "right". 

    Lightly coat bottom of baking pan with small amount of sauce.

    Place desired amount of meat and bean filling on tortilla, roll, and place in baking pan.

    Continue until all tortillas have been filled or filling is gone, whichever comes first.

    Pour sauce over top of tortillas.

    Cover with foil.

    Bake at 350 degrees for 45 min. to one hour.


    Uncover. Put shredded cheese on top.

    Return to over 15 min. or until cheese is melted.

    Can be served with whatever toppings your family enjoys. 

    [Note: I use ingredients available in our area along with those my family will eat. I am certain there are other ingredients that could be included in the filling so please feel free to personalize as desired.]



    6 C. rice

    3 qts. chicken broth

    1 jar picante sauce

    1 picante sauce jar amount of water(I rinse out empty jar used in the recipe.)

    1 qt. black beans(rinsed and drained)

    1 bag frozen corn kernels

    chili powder to taste

    cumin to taste

    garlic powder to taste

    fresh chopped chilis to taste (1 and a half large jalapenos)

    In large baking pan, place 6 c. uncooked rice, black beans, and corn.

    Add chili powder, cumin, and garlic powder to taste.

    In large cooking pot, bring chicken broth, picante sauce, water, and chilis to boil.

    Pour boiling broth mixture over rice.

    Cover with foil.

    Bake in 350 degree oven for one hour.

    [Note: This dish can go from side to main with the addition of meat of choice to rice mixture making it an ideal weeknight supper/dinner, OR meat can be added to the leftover rice to provide a full meal later on the following week.]


    Miraculously, both the enchiladas and the rice were ready to enter the oven at the same time on Friday. This was a win-win for me as it provided time for me to run through the shower before the birthday party began. 

    Whether you need an easy recipe for a celebration or a convenient weeknight meal, these recipes are perfect. Not only are they convenient and easy, but they are also adaptable to whatever ingredients are on hand and budget-friendly as well. They can also be adjusted to serve smaller amounts of people or left as they are and divided up for handy freezer meals to use later. May your table be blessed!