Not only does the 16th of September mark Mexico’s Independence Day, bu it’s also my late father’s birthday — Daddy would have been 74 tomorrow. Happy Birthday, Daddy.
Mexico’s Independence was kicked off by a Roman Catholic priest named Hidalgo. As Wikipedia tells us:
The Grito de Dolores (“Cry of Dolores”) also known as El Grito de la Independencia (“Cry of Independence”), uttered from the small town of Dolores, near Guanajuato on September 16, 1810 is the event that marks the beginning of the Mexican War of Independence and is the most important national holiday observed in Mexico. The “Grito” was the pronunciamiento of the Mexican War of Independence by Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a Roman Catholic priest.
Hidalgo and several criollos were involved in a planned revolt against the Spanish colonial government, and the plotters were betrayed. Fearing his arrest, Hidalgo commanded his brother Mauricio, as well as Ignacio Allende and Mariano Abasolo to go with a number of other armed men to make the sheriff release the pro-independence inmates there on the night of 15 September. They managed to set eighty free. Around 6:00 am September 16, 1810, Hidalgo ordered the church bells to be rung and gathered his congregation. Flanked by Allende and Juan Aldama, he addressed the people in front of his church, encouraging them to revolt.
The Battle of Guanajuato, the first major engagement of the insurgency, occurred 4 days later. Mexico’s independence would not be effectively declared from Spain in the Declaration of Independence of the Mexican Empire until September 27, 1821, after a decade of war.
We enjoy celebrating Mexico’s Independence Day in our house. I believe one should never pass up a reason to celebrate, and not only is September 16th a great excuse for eating delicious TexMex (although TexMex is so delicious and versatile, it makes any occasion special 😉 ), for me, it also commemorates my late father’s birthday.
Daddy and I had what grew into a difficult relationship — we were estranged the last 10 years of his life — but for me, his birthday and Mexico’s Independence Day are always linked. On this day, I always remember one of the last of his birthdays we spent together, our sitting in a Mexican restaurant on his birthday, chips and salsa and queso on the table, frozen margaritas in hand, and his telling me that we were celebrating not only his birthday, but Mexico’s Independence Day, as well. And I think of his 50th birthday celebration, when I flew in as a surprise guest (thank you, Jan!).
When Mexico’s Independence Day comes around, I view it as an excellent excuse to change my whole latitude 😉 by splurging on some Corona Light (with lime, of course!) and/or maybe a Carb-Conscious (no-sugar-added) frozen lime margarita.
For Mexico’s Independence Day (and my late dad’s birthday), I often like to make something that I don’t usually make — such as my own salsa, flour tortillas, charro beans (absolutely delicious!) — or try some kind of new recipe.
This year, though, I won’t be able to celebrate Mexico’s Independence Day as I normally would like to do due to other social obligations that popped up. However, I cannot let it go unacknowledged. So we’ve celebrated tonight with Mexico’s Independence Day Eve with an easy TexMex-style dish — namely, Easy Cheesy Enchiladas with Chili made with some leftover homemade chili.
As I’ve said before, leftover chili can easily be reborn into an entirely new meal. So for our supper tonight, I simply took some tortillas (you can use flour or corn tortillas), filled them with some grated reduced-fat cheese, placed ’em in a casserole, topped ’em with some leftover chili and a bit more grated cheese, and baked ’em until they were cooked through and bubbly.
Really, this is kind of like a rolled quesadilla served with chili, but it comes together more quickly than more traditional enchiladas and makes nice use of some leftover chili. It comes together more quickly than traditional enchiladas : using the seasoned chili as the sauce, you really don’t need to add in diced onion or sliced black olives or other flavors to the cheese in the enchiladas — although you certainly could add those in if you like.
Is it authentic? No.
But is it yummy? Oh, yes!
And remember: GRATE YOUR OWN CHEESE! Not only is it less expensive to grate it yourself, it will be fresher, have more flavor, and melt better.
Don’t have any leftover homemade chili? Use your favorite tinned chili! 🙂
Easy Cheesy Enchiladas with Chili (Makes 4 to 8 servings; easy to adjust up and down)
- 8 ounces shredded cheese (I used reduced-fat jalapeño cheddar, but use whatever sounds yummy to you that you have on hand)
- Bit more grated cheese for sprinkling on top
- Chili (depending upon how saucy you want it, you’ll want 2 to 3 cups of chili) (Vegetarians — use vegetarian chili!)
- 8 tortillas (flour or corn; I used hubby’s favorite small fajita-sized flour tortillas)
- Spread a small amount of chili (about 1/2 to 3/4 cup) in the bottom of an 11″X7″ pan.
- Gently heat tortillas (I like to wrap mine in damp paper towels and steam them in the microwave). Fill with cheese, roll tightly, and place in pan.
- Spread more chili on top. Sprinkle with a bit more cheese.
- Bake in a 350F oven (no need to preheat!) until heated through and bubbly, about 35 minutes. (Or bake for longer at a lower temperature or for less at a higher temperature).
- Let rest a few minutes before serving.
- Refrigerate leftovers.
Happy Independence Day, Mexico!
Here is the Mexican National Anthem — complete with subtitles! 🙂
¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Mexico!