Chicken Enchiladas–Let’s Get Cooking–El Moro, New Mexico, and Anasazi beans–in a home built by two!

George and Caroly cooking dinner

One of the wonderful realizations for travelers is there are incredible people everywhere, even in the smallest, most isolated places.  Barry and I needed good directions and our GPS when we went in search of Caroly and George, who live on 40 acres adjacent to a national park near El Morro, New Mexico.

For one great dinner, Caroly and George made chicken enchiladas.

You can enjoy them too.

Caroly’s recipe for-

Chicken Enchiladas

Precook chicken, 4 oz. boneless per person  [Of course, you could use tofu strips to create a vegetarian version]

Sauce, about one cup per person.  [Caroly uses lLas Palmas Green Chile Enchilada Sauce]

Saute onion and garlic in oil.  Add flour to make a roux.

Add either chicken broth or enchilada sauce.  If you use broth, add chopped green chile to taste.  With the enchilada, you may not need any additional chile spice, but it’s up to you.

Add the chicken to heat.

Soften corn tortillas in oil.

Stack the enchiladas, layering with grated cheddar cheese and sauce.  Top with cheese and heat the enchiladas in the oven for a few minutes–just to melt the cheese.

Serve with a side of pinto beans.


Enchiladas, squash, greens, and Anasazi beans--delicious

Although she suggests serving pinto beans, Caroly gave us Anasazi beans, which are even better than pinto.  I’d never heard of these beans, but the Anasazi were Native  Americans who lived in the four corners area (Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico) dating back to 130 A.D.

The Anasazi are best identified with their substantial architectural feats: “cliff dwellings.”  You can visit such dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park, Hovenweep, and Canyon de Chelly.

Anasazi cliff dwellings

Photo from –

“Anasazi” is a Navajo word perhaps best translated as “the ancient ones.”

In the early 1900’s, settlers in the area found beans in the ruins of cliff dwellings and tried planting them.  The beans grew!  Presently these beans are grown at 7,000 ft. elevation on the same land the Anasazi inhabited.  You can order these special beans through Adobe Milling in Dove Creek, Colorado.  Go to <>.

Besides being impressed with their cooking, we were amazed that George and Caroly had built their beautiful passive solar home themselves.  This entailed felling trees on their property, making hundreds of 35-pound  adobe bricks, and much, much more.  It took them four years to build; they started when they were both in their 60s!

George and Caroly's living room in the home they built themselves!

Their back deck

Caroly and George also have a hot tub where we soaked under the clouds and stars–and saw a shooting star.

George also has an interesting technique for collecting wine.  He will buy a case of on-sale wine that he likes–and let it age for 10 more years, which makes the red wine even richer in taste.

George's aging wines

Hummingbird visitors

The kitchen

The view--clouds and open space

Caroly used the left-over enchilada sauce for the salsa on her huevos rancheros the next morning.

Huevos rancheros

Yummy.  You might want to try these dishes too.

Aloha and adiós, Renée



About reneeriley

Our blog was begun as a way to share our experiences in China. From August 2010 to July 2011, my husband, Barry Kristel, and I were at our University of Hawaii Maui College sister school, Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University in Lin'an, China, a city considered rural because it has only 500,000 people! We had a wonderful time. Then in February 2012, we returned to teach this time at our other sister school, Shanghai Normal University, in a city of over 21 million people. We've made many discoveries. Did you know that now Chinese girls, at least the ones who go to university, for the most part feel they are luckier than the Chinese boys? Did you know that Shanghai saved over 20,000 European Jews during WWII? Do you know how Chinese university students would deal with problems that come up in Dear Abby letters? What's it like to be on the Great Wall of China? Do you know how many Chinese girls had their feet bound and why? And we have recipes from many of the places we've visited. Among others, you can find instructions on how to fry cicadas from one of my ZAFU students and how to make chocolate-Kahlua waffles from my brother Mike in Gainesville. You can also look back to our earliest entry to see what we experienced in Oaxaca, Mexico, in 2006 during the mainly peaceful six months of protest until the Mexican government sent in the troops. Between our stays in China, Barry and I have been on the Mainland U.S. visiting family, friends and Servas hosts as we traveled home to Maui. We share those experiences too. Welcome to our blog! Aloha and Zài Jiàn, Renée and Barry

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