Skip to content

On Ryan’s Plate: An Evening at the Improv

January 26, 2012

In a recent post, my wife claimed that I never cook without a recipe. I want to use this public forum  to offer a rebuttal. I feel like I’m the victim of a smear campaign, like poor Mitt Romney, who just wanted to give his dog an exciting ride on his car’s roof without getting grief from vicious, liberal mudslingers like this guy:


But I digress.

The point is, as I much as I hate to disagree with my pregnant wife, it’s not true that I never cook without a recipe. I’m perfectly capable of scrounging together a meal from the ingredients sitting around the fridge and pantry. In fact, before Anna and I started dating, the most complicated recipe I ever followed came on a mac and cheese box (even there, room exists for improv. My college roommates once substituted ranch dressing in our mac and cheese  when we were out of milk. Not bad).

However, when I’m preparing an “On Ryan’s Plate” blog post, I try to bring something special to the occasion. My wife sets a pretty high bar, so I have to really up my game in order to even hope to compete. Unlike Anna, I can’t just improvise a great meal. I need to steal from Martha Stewart. It’s like Anna is John Coltrane, tearing up scales, and I’m Kenny G, rigidly churning out the same old rendition of the Breathless CD 20 years later (standout track: “By the Time This Night is Over”, featuring Peabo Bryson on lyrics).

So my slavish adherence to recipes is all for you, dear reader.

But the other night, I decided to throw caution to the wind and just wing it. I knew I wanted some enchiladas, which I love but hadn’t made in years ever. So I went to the grocery store WITHOUT A LIST! and just perused the aisles to see what looked good. I even had a conversation with the butcher about what meat might taste best (Me: “Is this sausage flavored?” Butcher: “Yes, with lots of things. Sage. Um, and sage. It’s mostly sage.”) Then I came home and improvized this recipe, Wayne Brady-style. Feel free to follow it. Or not:

Pork Enchiladas


1/2 pound ground pork

3 small peppers, chopped

1 half red onion, chopped

1 cup spinach

6 scallions, chopped

1 lime

1/2 cup black olives, sliced

4-6 wheat tortillas

1 can, enchilada sauce

1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese

Taco seasoning


1) Season pork with taco seasoning. Saute pork in well-oiled skillet until it starts to brown.

2) Add peppers, onion, scallions, and spinach to skillet. Squeeze juice of whole lime into skillet. Cook ingredients until spinach wilts.

3) Grease 9×11 glass baking pan. Fill wheat tortillas evenly with pork and vegetable mixture (add some enchilada sauce if desired). Roll tortillas tightly and place side by in pan.

4) Pour enchilada sauce over all the tortillas. Cover with grated cheese and olives.

5) Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

The dish came out pretty well:




So I’ve proven that I can go without a recipe. That doesn’t mean that I will never use a recipe again. Sometimes you just want a little Kenny G. Case in point:

10 Comments leave one →
  1. January 26, 2012 3:47 pm

    MMmm ranch dressing as a sub for milk. Will have to remember that one! These enchiladas do look pretty tasty!

  2. January 26, 2012 4:17 pm

    hahahha. Ranch for milk??? This looks gorgeous! What a fabulous plate

  3. January 26, 2012 5:02 pm

    Oh Kenny, he gets such a bad rap but deservingly so. I always pass on making enchiladas even though I love them thinking they’re just too involved but maybe they’re not? This makes it seem that way at least!

  4. Emo permalink
    January 26, 2012 5:21 pm

    Bold move, Ryan.
    In our house, I’m the Ryan and Jon is the Anna… well, he would be if he cooked more than once a year. (And Diego is the sous chef.)

  5. January 26, 2012 5:54 pm

    Nice job Ryan! Enchiladas are a great throw together meal, but I have to say that meal looks pretty well planned. Nice play on the cooking without a recipe!

  6. January 26, 2012 11:10 pm

    Cute post and too funny on the Mac and cheese. 🙂

  7. January 26, 2012 11:13 pm

    Nice Ryan, Nice!!

  8. patti permalink
    January 27, 2012 2:56 am

    Fun post and great looking dinner.

  9. January 27, 2012 3:02 pm

    Ranch subbed for milk in mac&cheese? My little brother will love that tip 😉 As for the enchiladas, well done Ryan, well done!!!!


  1. friday facts « What Kelly Said

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: