I was born into the most amazing family. As a result, I had one of the best childhoods any young person could hope for. I suppose that’s why I do what I do for a living. I want all kids to have a shot at having a childhood like mine. I had amazing parents, wonderful siblings, cool cousins, and lots of loving aunts and uncles. I was truly blessed, this much I know.

aunt isabelleMy maternal grandparents (Gram and Pop) lived in a cabin at Whipporwill Point near Hulah Lake in Osage County, Oklahoma. Aunt Isabelle and Uncle Bob lived in a mobile home just a stone’s throw from the cabin. I have lots of stories about times spent at the lake with Gram, Pop, Aunt Isabelle, and Uncle Bob. Here’s a picture of Aunt Isabelle and Uncle Bob with my Great Aunt Melba (seated):

Aren’t they cute? Whenever we’d visit Gram and Pop, Pop would always take out his coin holder (it was one of those rubber ones you squeeze open – remember those??) and give each of us grandkids a quarter or two. Then, my sister Gina and I would proceed to wheedle and whine until Mom and Dad let us walk up the road to Zona’s, a convenience store/bait shop/beer tavern, to shop for penny candy. Hey, it was the 1970s in rural Osage County.

One afternoon, while coming back from Zona’s with our treasure, a thunderstorm blew up (imagine that – a freak thunderstorm in Oklahoma!), which announced its presence with a huge clap of thunder. Pop and Uncle Bob were sitting on Uncle Bob’s porch hanging out and smoking. As soon as we heard it, Gina and I took off running across the field in front of Uncle Bob’s house headed for the cabin, because Mom had scared us spitless about getting struck by lightening.

My sister and I were beanpoles. Pop and Uncle Bob got quite a kick out of watching our arms and legs flailing by as we girls ran screaming and caterwauling across the pasture right in front of them.

tammy and me claremomThis is a picture of me and my little cousin, Tammy, Aunt Isabelle’s granddaughter, sitting on the picnic table at Gram and Pops. I’m the one styling in the glasses and the halter top. Remember, it was the 70s.

Uncle Bob used to call me “Andrew.” He said once, “Angela Dawn, I like you so much, I wish you were a boy. I’m going to call you Andrew.” And he did. Every time I saw him, Uncle Bob would say, “Well, there’s Andrew.” Everybody else called me Angela Dawn. Not Angela. Angela Dawn. Still today, a grown woman with children of my own, my family calls me Angela Dawn. I don’t mind it. The way my name rolls off of their tongues, I know they love me.

Often, during these visits to the lake, Aunt Isabelle would make enchiladas and invite all of us over for supper. I don’t know who started calling them “Izzy’s Enchies,” but that is the name that stuck.

Not only are they absolutely delicious, they are easy to make. You can literally come home from work and have them on the table in less than 30 minutes. And, there is no stuffing or rolling of tortillas involved. These are stacked enchiladas.

To make them, you will need:claremom enchilada ingredients

1 lb. ground beef
1 can Old El Paso Enchilada Sauce (mild, medium, or hot, whichever you can stand)
2 cans Ranch Style beans
1 package corn tortillas
3 T. olive oil
3 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 head lettuce, shredded
1 tomato, chopped
4 green onions, sliced (optional)

Brown and drain the hamburger meat. Add the enchilada sauce and beans to the ground beef and stir together. Heat the mixture through. While the sauce is heating, place cheese in a bowl, shred the lettuce, chop the tomato, and slice the green onions. Place each in a separate bowl. I make a topping station by lining the bowls up in this order: cheese, lettuce, tomato, and green onion. Meanwhile, in a frying pan, heat the olive oil. Get out a stack of corn tortillas. Place a tortilla in the hot oil, cooking it very briefly on each side until it is pliable. Use a fork to flip the tortilla and retrieve it from the hot oil. Don’t cook the tortilla too long or it will get tough. Place the cooked tortilla on a plate, ladle on some sauce and top with cheese. Repeat the layers again (or even a third time, depending on how hungry you are!) and after topping the final layer with cheese, top with lettuce, tomatoes, and onion.

The only drawback to this recipe is that the cook has to stand at the stove and make each plate, which usually means that the cook eats last. Oh, well…it’s worth the sacrifice.

Enjoy one of my family’s favorite recipes!