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Bachelors are not generally known for their prowess in the kitchen. We are connoisseurs of pizza, frozen chicken pot pie gurus and serial spaghetti eaters. We skip breakfast, eat fast food for lunch and are willing to substitute ice cream for any meal of the day. We live by a code: When in doubt, eat out. This reputation is well-earned and I must confess that I’ve contributed to the stereotype. But I’m really trying to break out of the pack. Yesterday, I even made myself a salad.

When I was in school, I had a good excuse for not eating well. I was busy, running off to class or one of my three jobs. But now, I have time to cook. I really do like cooking, it’s just hard to get back into the habit. This week, it all changes. Goodbye, store-bought junk; hello, homemade deliciousness.

I enjoy cooking because it’s like eating for an extended period of time without getting a stomach ache. You’re constantly shrouded in the smell of whatever’s sizzling on the stove, perpetually tasting your creation. It’s bliss for the senses.

Still, the really great thing about cooking is that it’s similar enough to the writing process to make an adequate metaphor. Like any creative endeavor, you start with a rough idea of what you want to make — a sketch, an outline, a recipe — and tweak it with a little word choice here and a little ground black pepper there until you’re satisfied. Invariably, the end result is not what you thought it would be when you started out, but that’s the beauty of creativity. It creates itself as much as you create it. And did I mention you get to eat it?

So, when I cook, I sometimes pretend I’m composing a story with ingredients instead of characters. And yes, it’s also an excuse to sing along to Pandora and play with fire. Cooking is equal parts experience, experimentation and luck. Maybe that’s what I really like about it. Or maybe it’s just the fact that I get to eat my masterpiece when it’s done.

Yeah, it’s probably the latter.

As an added bonus, I’ve decided to throw in my family’s age old secret recipe for enchiladas. Bon appétit!

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 tomatoes on the vine
  • 1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
  • 1-2 sorano peppers
  • 12-14 small corn tortillas
  • 16 oz. shredded Mexican 4-cheese blend
  • Cilantro, onion and garlic to taste
  • Optional: Shredded chicken

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Warm tortillas on griddle until flexible; keep warm in a tortilla warmer.
  3. Boil tomatoes and sorano peppers until the skin of the tomatoes starts peeling.
  4. Sauté diced onion and garlic until brown.
  5. Blend a handful of cilantro, tomatoes, peppers, can of tomato sauce, onion, and garlic until smooth.
  6. Pour some of the sauce into a glass casserole dish to cover the bottom. Fill tortillas with cheese and/or shredded chicken, fold in half and place in dish. Cover enchiladas with remaining sauce and cheese.
  7. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes (until the cheese on top melts). Makes 12-14 enchiladas.

— 30 —

The USDA recommends that you get 3-5 servings of vegetables and 4-6 servings of my tweets per day. I can’t help you with the broccoli, but I can point you in the direction of my Twitter feed: @jonnyeberle. Don’t be afraid to ask for seconds.

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