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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Thursday Recipe - Enchilada Casserole

This is an old standby. Easy, fast, cheap, and the varieties are endless. Make it a casserole in the oven, do it in the crockpot. Spice it up or keep it mild. Load it with cheese or keep it light. Either way, it's tasty, nutritious, and filling.

Enchilada Casserole

1 lb ground beef
1/2 c. diced onion
2 12 oz. cans red enchilada sauce
1 16 oz. can sweet corn
1 16 oz. can kidney or black beans, drained and rinsed
1 4 oz. can diced green chilies
4 c. grated cheese, cheddar or cheddar jack or whatever you want to use
12 - 15 corn tortillas

Brown beef and onion in a frying pan until beef is cooked and onion is soft. Set aside.

Spray a 9x13 casserole dish. Pour 1/2 c. enchilada sauce in the bottom and spread it around. If you skimp here, the tortillas will stick to the pan. Layer 3 - 4 tortillas in the bottom, ripping them into pieces as needed to make them fit. Sprinkle 1/2 of the beef mixture over the tortillas. Spread half the can of corn and half the beans on top. Add green chilies if you want. Sprinkle with 1 c. of cheese. Pour the rest of the first can of enchilada sauce over the top. Layer another 3 - 4 tortillas over, enough to cover the filling. Repeat layering with the rest of the beef, corn, beans, green chilies, and 1 c. cheese. Pour half of the second can of enchilada sauce over the filling. Cover with the remaining tortillas. Spread the rest of the cheese over the tortillas on top. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the top. Bake at 350° for 30-45 minutes, until bubbly gooey yumminess is achieved.

Makes one 9x13 pan or two 8" pans of enchilada casserole and serves 6-8 people.

Serve with sliced green onions, more cheese, sour cream, guacamole, olives, shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, and salsa, if desired. Or make those into a green salad to serve on the side for a complete meal.


Low-fat, non-dairy - leave out the cheese and use lean ground beef or ground turkey.

Spicy - Use a spicier enchilada sauce or add some chopped jalapenos to the mix. Or substitute 2 c. of hot salsa for one can of enchilada sauce.

Vegetarian - Instead of ground beef, use a mixture of beans, corn, diced zucchini, cooked diced carrots, steamed broccoli and cauliflower, or whatever other vegetables you think will taste good.

Slow-cooker - layer everything in a crockpot, you'll end up with five or six layers instead of two or three. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours or high for 2-3 hours. Add cheese on top at the very end.

Skillet - Use a really big skillet or dutch oven. Cook hamburger and onion in the skillet. Tear tortillas in bite-size pieces. Stir sauce into meat. Add everything else except cheese, stir to mix. Cover and cook over med-low heat until everything is hot through. Sprinkle cheese on top just before serving.

Salad style - Cook beef and onions as directed, add sauce, corns, beans, and chilies. Stir and cook until hot through. Fry or warm tortillas in separate pan. Serve by placing a tortilla on a plate, add one scoop of meat mixture, sprinkle with cheese, add shredded lettuce, green onions, sliced olives, sour cream, guacamole, etc as desired.

This is a great make-ahead and freeze-until-needed recipe. Just assemble the casseroles in heavy foil pans, cover tightly with heavy-duty foil, and freeze for up to three months. To cook, pull out of the freezer, pop in a 350° oven for 60-75 minutes until hot through, remove cover and bake an additional 10 minutes to crisp the top.

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