Today has several National Days to pick from. The one with the greatest impact has to be National Big Wig Day. It was designed to raise money as well as awareness on a number of worthwhile fronts to help people who may need wigs after an illness. For more information on how to observe the last Friday in January, please visit the National Big Wig Day website.
It also happens to be National Puzzle Day. Believe you me, when this pandemic first hit, puzzles were a lifeline to sanity. Everything from jigsaw puzzles to puzzle books filled with an array of challenges to keep the mind busy with hours of idle time. While today may be National Puzzle Day, I’d say for us most of 2020 was National Puzzle Day.
On the Foodie front, today is National Corn Chip Day. Way back when two men in San Antonio, Texas helped to create the corn based snack industry we know today. The first as man named Isador J. Filler, a traveling salesman who often ate tostadas when he traveled to San Antonio. He was struck by the idea of making the large, hard corn tortilla into a thinner rectangle shape chip that could be dipped into beans or salsas. Isador patented his novel concept in 1932. His became the Tortilla Chip we all know and love today.
Around the same time, the Doolin family, owners of the Highland Park Confectionary in San Antonio wanted to add a salty snack to their repertoire. This was at the height of the Great Depression and desperate times called for desperate measures. As luck would have it, Elmer Doolin responded to an ad in the San Antonio Express placed by Gustavo Olguin. Gustavo offered for the sale of an original recipe for corn chips along with an adapted potato ricer and nineteen retail accounts. Elmer bought the small business venture for one-hundred dollars. They called their corn chips Fritos and began production in the family kitchen.
By 1955, the Frito Company had expanded to more than fifty production plants and Frito Farms throughout Texas where they grew corn exclusively for their snack chips. The Frito Company, looking to expand even further, was one of the first ventures to invest in an amusement park in Southern California called Disneyland. In exchange, Casa de Fritos Restaurant was part of the theme park’s featured eateries.
Fast-forward to 1961, when the Frito Company merged with H.W. Lay to become Frito-Lay. In 1965, Frito-Lay merged with the Pepsi-Cola Company to become PepsiCo, one of the world’s largest producers of soft drinks and snack foods. And to think, it all began with an ad in a San Antonio paper.
Corn Chip Pie Enchilada Casserole
1 (15 oz) can Whole Black Beans
1/4 cup Green Onions
1 Yellow Onion
1/2 lb Ground Beef
1/2 lb Chorizo
2 tablespoons Taco Seasoning or to taste
1/3 cup Water
1/3 cup Beef Stock
1 (19 oz) can Red Enchilada Sauce
5 cups Corn Chips (Fritos)
2 cups shredded Mexican Cheese Blend
1 cup Sour Cream
1 cup Spicy Guacamole
Heat oven to 350-degrees. Spray 13-inch by 9-inch glass casserole dish with cooking spray, set aside.
Rinse black beans, drain well and set aside. Peel and dice small onion, set aside. Trim root ends from the green onions, slice tops and bulbs for garnish. Set aside.
In 12-inch nonstick skillet, crumble ground beef and chorizo together. Cook meats over medium heat, breaking into small pieces. Drain, return to skillet. Add onion, cook 5 minutes longer for onions to soften.
Stir in taco seasoning, water and beef stock. Heat to boiling; reduce heat to medium; simmer uncovered 3 to 4 minutes or until thickened. Stir in enchilada sauce and black beans; cook 1 to 2 minutes or until heated through.
Place 4 cups of the corn chips in single layer in baking dish. Top with 1 cup of the cheese; spoon meat mixture over cheese, then top with remaining 1 cup cheese.
Bake about 18 minutes or until cheese is melted and edges are bubbly.
Remove from oven. Top with remaining cup of corn chips and the green onion garnish. Serve with sour cream and guacamole.