Easy Enchilada Casserole

By Fred Tice

** This article first appeared in the November 30 Issue of the Seward Journal Newspaper**

Rather than serve up the usual fare of ‘leftover turkey’ recipes,
which you’ve undoubtedly already worked through, something not-turkey
and also easy seemed in order. Fred Tice came to the rescue with this
gem:
img_1820
There are two methods I use to determine the bona fides of a Mexican
restaurant. The first is when I sit down. A pitcher of margaritas
should appear instantly, as if by magic.

OK, no, not really.

The first is the chips and salsa. If the chips are stale, or the salsa
thin and weak, that doesn’t bode well.

The second, far more important test is how well they make enchiladas.

A really good enchilada is a culinary work of art, a thing of beauty.
Have you ever tried to make them, complete with the presentation of a
first-rate Mexican eatery? I have, and rolling those things up without
destroying them is darn near impossible, not to mention time
consuming. That’s why I use the recipe that follows. Total prep time
is about 1½ hours.

Ingredients:

A package of around 20 or so small flour or corn tortillas. (I like
flour, but corn is healthier and lower calorie. The diameter isn’t
important, it’s just that corn tortillas usually only come in
six-inch.)

2 pounds ground beef or turkey

32-oz. can enchilada sauce, green or red, chef’s preference

1 to 1½  pounds grated cheese (depending on the cheesiness of the
cook). I like to mix ½ pound mozzarella and ½ pound Monterey jack, but
whatever you have on hand is fine.

16-oz. can diced tomatoes, drained. I like the ones w/ oregano, basil
and garlic already in the can; this is optional.

Spices as desired.

½ tablespoon cooking oil

8-oz. can of sliced black olives for garnish (optional)

In a large skillet, brown and drain the ground meat. Mix in the
enchilada sauce and tomatoes. Bring to a low boil, then reduce heat
and simmer for 30-45 minutes, or until a fairly thick consistency is
reached. Mixture should not be too soupy. Season to taste with cumin,
salt, pepper, chili powder, and/or paprika.

While enchilada sauce is simmering, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly oil a large casserole dish (approximately four quarts). Line
with tortillas. When ready, ladle on a layer of sauce, enough so
tortillas are just barely visible. Then add a layer of grated cheese,
approximately ½ inch thick.

Add another layer of tortillas, then more sauce, and another layer of
cheese. Repeat until all ingredients are used, making the top layer
cheese. Garnish with olives if desired.

Place in preheated oven and bake uncovered for 30 minutes, or until
cheese is bubbly. Remove from oven, allow to cool until top layer of
cheese stops bubbling, and serve. Refried beans make a good side with
this recipe. Another bonus – great leftovers. This is one of those
recipes that is better after it sits in the fridge all night, then
microwave for breakfast. Yum!


Special thanks to Fred for submitting this article. Image shown is Dave Koster attempting to make both a green batch and a red batch for a school potluck – it went over well.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s