Stars shining bright above you
Night breezes seem to whisper “I love you”
Birds singing in the sycamore tree
Dream a little dream of me

I’ve been learning to play the ukulele. When a neighborhood woman – an amazing artist, accomplished musician, and fellow mother – offered to get a group of ladies together and teach us to play, I treated my self to a pink Flea and jumped in. It’s a perfect beach pastime – sitting on a log, watching the boys skimboard, strumming and singing away. Missed notes, off-key, it’s all good; the gently crashing waves, even on a calm day, basically drown me out anyway.

You can play any song on a uke but, Hawaiian music aside, many don’t translate well. No matter how much you’ve suffered you just can’t play convincing blues on a ukulele, nor can you capture rock’s dirty low rhythms. One day, washing dishes, listening to my iPod, keeping my ear open for promising uke tunes, Mama Cass started crooning “Dream a Little Dream.” This was it, finally, what could be the penultimate ukulele song.

And so it was. For several months, it was my secret personal ukulele theme song, not one that seemed to be on any larger radar. But not for long. It was seemingly a nice coincidence when Kid One came home from guitar class with a jazzy arrangement for it. Not knowing the song he gave it different interpretation than I’d ever heard. Then I paged through a fashion mag at the dentist that had a pictorial called “Dream A Little Dream.” And then it was featured on Glee. It’s the odd synchronous way of the universe –  one idea, capturing many different imaginations at the same time, each one interpreting it and making it his or her own.

When I sleep, I dream big dreams. Often in Technicolor with layers little of dreams inside. Sometimes ghosts in rocking chairs appear in dusty corners of empty apartments, other times they involve giant chickens tightrope walking outside my window. Surprising then, waking up morning before last, to have had a simple little dream: my dream self taking an accurate inventory of the current contents of the fridge and making chicken enchiladas. I’d never planned a meal in a dream before, but there you have it – the day’s upcoming meal, all set.

LL, who rarely dreams, woke up shortly after I did, telling me about a Mexican food dream of his own. This one unsettling, set in an unfamiliar Mexican restaurant, the menu written in an unfamiliar alphabet with a wait staff unwilling to translate. It’s an odd synchronous way of longtime partners – a meeting of the minds so close as to have similarly themed dreams.

So last night, of course, I made chicken enchiladas, from a perfectly delicious recipe my Midwestern mother gave me. It’s completely simple, certainly not authentic, and gets rave reviews from everyone who’s tasted it – except for Kid Two, who was thoroughly unimpressed and stuck to refried beans and rice.

Here you go.

Quick quicken enchiladas

Life in a Skillet
Fast and family-friendly recipe for a weeknight chicken enchilada dish.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course entree
Servings 4


  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 1 16- oz can enchilada sauce
  • 8 oz whipped cream cheese
  • 8 oz shredded cooked chicken see note
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion


  • Preheat the oven to 350
  • Spoonful 1/4 cup enchilada sauce in the bottom of the casserole dish.
  • Soften the tortilla by dampening it water and heating in the microwave for 15 seconds.
  • Now you are ready to assemble the enchiladas. For each one:
  • Spread 1 oz cream cheese on the tortilla.
  • Add 1 oz shredded chicken
  • Sprinkle with 1 tsp green onion
  • Roll, and place seam-side down in the casserole dish.
  • Repeat 8 times.
  • Pour remaining enchilada sauce over the tortillas.
  • Add remaining green onion.
  • Finally, top with shredded Monterey jack cheese.
  • Heat in the oven 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and it's nice and hot all the way through.
  • Serve on warm plates with sour cream.


I poached three boneless, skinless chicken breasts, covering them in water seasoned with a couple bay leaves, a clove of garlic, some salt, and a bunch of freshly ground pepper, and simmered for about an hour and a half so it was tender and easy to shred, add more liquid along the way.
This is also a good use for rotisserie chicken.
This recipe reheats well.

Sweet dreams till sunbeams find you
Sweet dreams that leave all worries behind you
But in your dreams whatever they be
Dream a little dream of me

dreams of Mayan sunsets