I find myself saying “Better late than never” a lot these days.
I was speaking with a friend recently and I said, “I’m so far behind, I think I’m in first place.”
He thought it was hysterical. He had never heard that saying before.
Which made me wonder, how is that possible? But that’s for another time…. This time is for birthday surprises and soup, even if I’m three weeks late.
For the surprise, I flew to see my man for his birthday.
That is NOT the surprise. Prior to my arrival, I contacted a couple of his friends and by way of the “tell two friends and so on” method; we pulled together a little surprise party for the birthday boy.
I won’t take up all of my blog space with all the details but I will give you a few highlights.
He questioned me several times throughout the day.
I stealthily skirted his questions of a surprise party by simply asking him questions in return.
He fell for it.
Then we arrived at the restaurant.
His keen eye scanned the parking lot for his friends’ cars.
He said, “Good. No cars. I thought you planned something.”
This pretty much sent me into heart attack mode. What if I had done the wrong thing? What if he gets mad that I threw a surprise party for him?
As we walked into the restaurant and rounded the corner to our table, the gang yelled a big “Surprise!”
He was shocked. He was happy.
And when I finally was able to have a moment alone with him, he told me he really hoped I had planned something.
There ended up being 10 of us, a small party by most measures but perfect for this gang.
Now for the real reason for today’s blog…
For dinner, I planned to make a Chicken Tortilla Soup and Sweet and Spicy Corn Bread.
Rather than post the recipes here, I thought I’d give a few time saver, flavor enhancer and grandma supplied suggestions.
When making the soup, buy an already roasted chicken!
Yes, yes, yes, you may scold me and yell at me all you like.
But I will tell you it adds flavor and saves time!
Add Sriracha Sauce!
I don’t care to what you’re adding it. Just add it!
Okay, that may be an exaggeration. I added it to both the soup and the cornbread.
The spicier, the better!
Add a can of refried beans to the soup.
It thickens it, adds flavor and you even get a few whole beans but not too many.
Use a cast iron skillet instead of a 9x9 baking dish for the cornbread.
When preparing the pan, spread a thin layer of corn oil on the bottom of the pan; sprinkle a little cornmeal over the oil and bake that until the cornmeal sizzles.
While this is hot, pour the cornbread mixture into the pan.
You will thank me later for the crispy edges and moist insides… well, you’ll actually be thanking my grandma, via my mama, via me!
Color, color, color… Add a spoonful of pico de gallo, a spoon full of sour cream, several blue corn tortilla chips and a bit of cilantro to each bowl.
The color is amazing and it creates a terrific flavor.
Needless to say, he loved both of his birthday dinners.
One for the friends and the other for the flavors.
Another meal is already planned… stay tuned.