Cooking with Connie: Enchiladas

Madame Deals is pleased to bring you a new weekly column, Cooking with Connie. Streching meals, cooking from a stockpile and meal planning are topics that Connie will write on. Connie is an awesome cook and she is so good at cooking a large portion of meat and then making many different meals from it. We are so excited to have Connie join us!

As Dora the Explorer would say… “Enchiladas Super Bien Sabrosas”

My cousin’s favorite food is Mexican.  So when she and her girls came over to visit on a week night, I wanted to serve Mexican.  I didn’t want to spend a lot, but I wanted the classic Mexican flavors.  I decided to use cooked beef from a roast in enchiladas rather than the more popular ground beef.  I only had 1 cup of leftover beef, so I added rice and black beans to stretch it and make more enchiladas.  I have to say…my cousin and her husband lived in San Diego for awhile and enjoyed delicious and authentic Mexican food while living there.  I even visited once, and we ate in a restaurant where I had the best guacamole I’ve ever eaten.  So, I was nervous about even attempting Mexican food to serve to them.  But, the dish was a success.  Even the kids ate it!  I would have liked it to be a little spicier.  So, I’ve included in the recipe optional ingredients and variations that will add a little kick, if you prefer.  The chipotle pepper will add a smokey-heat flavor and the green chiles will be a milder spicey flavor.

Don’t be afraid to try a new recipe or cooking style.  Make notes in your cookbooks or on your recipes so that when you try the recipe again, you’ll know what you need to change.  Throughout my cookbooks and recipes, I have written things like “John hated this” or “the kids loved this” or “needs more onion” or “makes too much for one meal” and so on.  If at first you don’t succeed, try again (but make a few changes!).

Once again, I used leftover ingredients from meals I’d prepared earlier in the week.  The beef was from a roast (could be chuck or a leaner cut), the rice was from a side dish, and the cheeses were from a BOGO sale.  Shredded cheese freezes well, so stock up and freeze.  Use the thawed cheese on baked items rather than as a fresh topping.  It melts fine, but the consistency does change a bit after being frozen.

Beef & Rice Enchiladas

1 c. beef, cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 ½ c. cooked rice
3/4 c. black beans
4 green onions, chopped
1 c. shredded Monterey jack (or pepper jack) cheese, divided
1 c. shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
1 (19-oz) can enchilada sauce
2 t. chili seasoning blend
1 t. salt
2 T. Chopped fresh cilantro, divided
1 chipotle pepper, chopped OR 2 T. chopped green chiles (optional…either will add heat)
8 flour tortillas, room temperature
sour cream, guacamole, chopped iceberg lettuce, tortilla chips for serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium bowl, combine beef, rice, black beans, green onions, half of the cheeses, 4 T enchilada sauce, chili seasoning blend, salt, 1 T. Chopped cilantro, and chipotle pepper or green chiles (if desired). Mix well.  Evenly distribute the mixture between the tortillas and roll up.  Cover the bottom of a 9×13 dish with 1/3 cup enchilada sauce.  Place rolled-up enchiladas in a single layer in the baking dish and top with remaining enchilada sauce and cheeses.  Bake in preheated oven until cheese melts and enchiladas are heated through, about 20 minutes.  Top with remaining chopped cilantro.  Serve each enchilada on top of shredded lettuce alongside a dallop of guacamole and sour cream and a few tortilla chips, if desired.

*Notes on this recipe*

You can use a smaller can of enchilada sauce if you don’t prefer your enchiladas “saucey”.

Use your favorite chili seasoning blend or mix up a batch of mine and keep it in your pantry for tacos, a pot of chili, meatloaf.

You can use burrito-size or taco-size tortillas.

Chili Seasoning Blend

3 T chili powder
1 t. salt
1 T garlic powder
1 ½ t. black pepper
½ t. ground red pepper
1 T sugar

Combine all ingredients and store in an air-tight container.

*I use this seasoning blend because it is less expensive than the packets, and my version does not contain any MSG or preservatives.  Plus, I can increase or decrease the amount of the ingredients based on my family’

To see Connie’s other posts click HERE

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