Sunday, November 27, 2022

It took me fifteen years to try it

and the next fifteen years, I couldn't get enough of it. I am talking, of course, about my mother-in-law's famous Dorito Casserole. She calls it her "Chicken Enchiladas." But I call it Dorito Casserole because, as the name implies, it contains Doritos. An entire bag, to be specific. 

So, the backstory here is that every Thanksgiving, my mother-in-law would make the dish, and often, I'd watch her make it (pro tip: do NOT do this) and I'd be... repulsed and have no desire to eat it, but then, the entire casserole would get snarfed down by everyone else, and I'd wonder,

but not wonder too hard, what I was missing. Until one day, there did happen to be a small bit of it remaining, and tired of all of the other leftovers, the mashed potato, stuffing, cranberry sauce, etc., I heated up some of the "Chicken Enchiladas," and let's just say, 

a new fan was born. 

(If the Dorito Casserole is wrong
I don't want to be right)

Every year after, and any year my mother-in-law wasn't here, I'd be the one opening the bag of Doritos and mixing up the gloop, the dish by then a family favorite, the first request of the kids when they came home for the holidays, the one recipe Thanksgiving guests would ask me for later, and I would always have to tell them: "Don't think too hard about what's in this." 

Okay, I'll tell you what's in this. * 

But first, let me tell you about the opposite of what's in this. Actual food. I've been thinking about actual food lately because my husband and I have been trying to eat better, and better, in our definition, means eating food. IE: things that aren't processed or are minimally so, things that our grandmothers would have identified as food. Except this isn't entirely true. 

Our grandmothers (and his mother) grew up on farms, and processed food (they would say "store bought") to them meant better. In their opinion, if you could afford to buy a can of tomatoes, why in the world would you spend time growing tomatoes, harvesting tomatoes, canning tomatoes? 

Interestingly enough, the grandchildren are enamored by growing and harvesting and canning. They shop at farmers markets and worry about sustainability and local food chains and food deserts. One set of kids is presently living and working on a farm, something that had many of the farm-raised older relatives shaking their heads in genuine confusion. 

I recently read a book about this present-day farm, a memoir by a woman who left her city-life to follow her husband's dream, a fully sustainable farm that can feed hundreds of people, and I must say I can see the appeal. 

One sticking point though: on Thanksgiving, can I still eat the Dorito Casserole? 

*As promised: Linda's Chicken Enchiladas (affectionately known as The Dorito Casserole)

  • 1 cup cooked and cubed chicken (or turkey)
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes
  • 1 medium jar of Cheez Whiz
  • 1 bag of Doritos
Mix together everything except Doritos. Pour small amount on bottom of baking dish. Alternate layers of soup mixture and chips. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes. Enjoy!

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