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old reliable vegetable enchiladas

April 11th, 2012 | 1 Comment »

There’s nothing, really, to making a pan of enchiladas. Tortillas, filling, sauce and cheese, a bit of time in a hot oven and you’ve got a dinner that should please just about anyone. I probably don’t even need to give you a recipe, do I? (but I will…..)


What enchiladas are though, is reliable. At least in my home they are. I know they’re something that all of us will eat without a shred of complaining. And we all need those types of meals in our homes, on our tables and in our back pockets, don’t we? The ones that no one whines over, or rolls their eyes. A meal that everyone will gobble down with reckless abandon. I know with a few peppers, canned beans, frozen corn, a pack of tortillas and a bit of time, that a meal will land in our midst and pull us together, drawing the day to a close. And long before we stopped eating meat, I could make Vegetable Enchiladas and Griffin wouldn’t care one whit about them. Thankfully, that’s still true.

We’ve slipped back to somewhat more normal weather these days, now that April has come and set her softly budding Spring on us. March’s heat wave gave us all a taste of warmth and summer and we all want it back, but these days, the nights come cold and brisk and for me, this past week of frost warnings and cold sunshine was enough to want the oven humming and a warming dish in our bellies. I know soon enough that it won’t feel like these comforting dishes will be necessary, so along with our old reliable Enchiladas, I wanted to have one last send off of a favorite meal before the heat comes and dinner plates are full of fresh and lighter meals.

 There’s really two ways you can make Enchiladas, outside of choosing between corn and flour tortillas; you can roll up the filling inside the tortillas, or you can layer the filling between the tortillas, creating a more ‘lasagna’ style dish that’s equally as good, and sometimes a bit easier to negotiate out of the pan. I like them both ways, and the ‘lasagna’ method is a bit less work, but if you’ve got willing hands to help, the rolling part happens pretty fast. The best part of this meal is having LOTS of good leftovers, and I think the flavor gets much better overnight.

And as for sauces….. I’ve never made an enchilada sauce from scratch that even came close to tasting like a few canned varieties I’ve found. My go-to brand of enchilada sauce is Carlita; it’s a deep, rich red sauce that’s got just the right amount of seasoning and spice. Las Palmas is another good option; they’ve got both red and green enchilada sauce, and have a Mild, Medium or Hot option. The Medium is plenty for us, and their green enchilada sauce is really amazing.

 (disclaimer: nobody paid me to say that, or gave me free products to say that. Just so you know)


Vegetable Enchiladas

2 bell peppers, cored, seeded and diced (any color you choose)
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, cored, seeded and diced  (like it spicier? make it a serrano)
2 small zucchini, peeled and diced
1 c. frozen corn kernels
1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed (can sub any kind, really)
1 15-oz can fire roasted tomatoes
1 T. chili powder (can sub in canned chipotle in adobo if you have it on hand- it’s a wonderful flavor)
1 T. ground cumin
2 c. washed and finely chopped spinach, chard or beet greens (optional, but it adds a good amount of flavor and nutrition)
8-oz shred cheese of choice
1 15-oz can enchilada sauce of choice (you can use two if you like a lot of sauce)
Tortillas of choice (use the small 6″ corn, or the 8″ flour; you’ll need 12-15 corn, 10-12 flour)
Oil of choice for cooking

Spray a 9×13 baking pan with cooking spray. You may have enough filling to make more enchiladas, so have a smaller pan at the ready, like an 8×8. Heat the oven to 400°. Have your tortillas on the counter to warm slightly as they’ll roll better, but if you’re using corn tortillas, don’t leave them uncovered or they will dry out.

In a deep skillet with a cover, heat a bit of oil and add the onion. Cook about 10 minutes, or until softened and then add the bell pepper and jalapeno. Cook, stirring occasionally until the peppers begin to soften. Add in the garlic, zucchini, frozen corn and canned beans. Stir it all together and get it simmering. Cover the pan and cook for about 10 minutes. Stir in the greens, cover and turn off the heat. Let stand for about five minutes.

Place a tortilla in the pan and drop a few tablespoons of shred cheese down the middle. Spoon some of the filling in (the amount depends on the size of your tortilla) and spread it to the edge. Gently roll the tortillas up, making sure the seam side is down. Repeat until the pan is full. The tortillas can be moved closer to one another as your roll. You want them pretty snug, but not crammed in the pan or it will be impossible to get them out.

Spoon the sauce down each tortilla, spreading it out as you go. They should be well covered. Sprinkle the top with cheese and cover with foil. Bake for about 20 minutes, then take the foil off and allow the cheese to brown just a bit more. Thirty minutes should be plenty of time. If you allow the Enchiladas to sit for 10-15 minutes, they are A LOT easier to get out of the pan.

These are delicious served with avocado, sour cream, or both.



KATE’S NOTES: To make Enchiladas ‘Lasagna’ style, lay the tortillas on the bottom of the baking pan. Spread some filling over them, then top with a bit of cheese and a drizzle of sauce. Layer more tortillas and repeat. You should be able to get at least three layers, finishing with sauce over the top, and cheese before baking. Allow this to also sit for a spell before cutting in to squares.

If you wish to add meat to the filling, please do so. I used to make these all the time with chicken, and once in a while with pork or beef. One pack of boneless skinless chicken breasts is perfect; dice them, and sear the meat in with the onions, then proceed with the remaining steps.

Any leftover filling is wonderful for breakfast. I had about 1-1/2 cups left from this meal, and for breakfast I heated it in a pan then cracked two eggs in it, covered the pan and cooked it for about five minutes. I scooped it on to a plate that had a handful of tortilla chips on it. It was the finest breakfast I’ve had in a long time.

cheese cheese cheese!!!

August 14th, 2011 | 1 Comment »

One of the nice perks of working in an upscale grocery store is that there is a gourmet cheese case, chock full of amazing cheeses that tempt me each time I walk by. The giant wheels of cheese come in and are cut down to size, often leaving behind smaller pieces that are then wrapped and placed in the ‘Bargain Bin’ where lucky shoppers can grab as many artisan cheeses as they want, often for only a few dollars per piece. It’s nice way to try out a wide variety of good cheese, without committing to a large piece that you may not like.

Once in a while I like to purchase two or three of the small chunks and take them home to savor with a glass of wine and some good crackers. I do like cheese, despite having mild lactose intolerance. It seems that the artisan cheeses, made with higher quality milk don’t tend to disagree with my belly like more mass-produced cheeses can. Recently I was given an opportunity to compare Sargento Natural Cheese slices to that of processed cheese. Hah. No brainer there. Bring on the cheese!!!

{{ DISCLAIMER~~~ Through my relationship with The Motherhood, I was provided with cheese samples, and compensated financially for providing my feedback on the product. All opinions are mine, however. }}

The cheese arrived during a busy crush time in my schedule, and languished in the fridge for a few days before I pulled it out to taste the offerings. Griffin and I bent over the cheeses, examining them closely. There were plain plastic wrapped slices, likely Kraft singles, which we’ve never eaten and truthfully, we just tossed those out. We don’t need to eat plastic cheese to know that it’s disgusting. The package of Sargento cheese was neatly sliced in perfect squares and was real, honest to goodness cheese. It looked, smelled and felt like real cheese, all in perfect sandwich sized squares in a neatly wrapped package. There were about 12-14 slices in the package. I don’t know what the retail cost of the item would be.

We both detected a somewhat plastic taste to the cheese from the wrapper, no doubt, but beyond that, this was unmistakenly ‘cheese’. We broke up the slices and ate them with some crackers, enjoying the quick snack and chatting aimlessly. I don’t tend to buy cheese in this form, preferring to purchase bricks that I can either slice or shred to my needs. This cheese, however, was flavorful and easy to use, and much much better than the individually processed fake stuff. Although my preference for cheese goes to a bit higher level than this, I did enjoy those slices, especially lingering over them with my boy, sharing a quick conversation.

Are you a cheese lover? What’s your favorite type of cheese??

Wordless Wednesday

September 2nd, 2009 | 1 Comment »

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Poblano Chile Tostada
from the Eat Wisconsin Cheese website

Corn tortillas are heated to a crisp, then topped with roasted poblano peppers, grilled chicken and zucchini, fresh corn and tomato and then heated to warm everything through. Top with cilantro and queso fresco cheese. This is a great item for the grill as you can make multiple tostadas with ease, and if offering a variety of ingredients, everyone can customize to their liking.