The other day I realized I had a can of enchilada sauce and too many tortillas in my house. Well, make enchiladas, right?? Except I did not want to be in the kitchen rolling tortillas all night. So I made it into a layered casserole instead. Laziness, for the win!
You will need:
Tortillas (corn or flour)
Cheese (A LOT)
Your choice of fillings. I used beans, onions, jalapenos, and cheese. You could use cooked spinach, chicken, beef, or a whole host of things. I had squash and corn filled enchiladas in California once (which were okay), so try anything your little heart desires.
Layer tortillas in the sauce.
Throw down some fillings. I used onions, jalapenos, and beans. I didn’t do a very thick layer. You can make your filling layer thicker, or add another filling layer on top of this one, if you want.
I then added a ton of cheese. I used colby jack and American cheese. Do NOT tell Hubby. It’s so inauthentic to use American cheese, but it was so good! I used big slices of cheese, so there’s probably the equivalent of 2 cups in there. I didn’t feel like shredding it, and slices worked fine.
Then add another layer of tortillas. At this point you can add a second filling layer if you want. I also spread some more enchilada sauce on top of these tortillas. They soak it up while it’s baking.
I then added more raw onions and jalapenos, and EVEN MORE CHEESE YYEAAAAAHHHHHH!!
This is how it came out of the oven. I baked it at 350 for 30-40 minutes, until the cheese on top was bubbling.
It was so very awesome. I want more right now! It also reheats really well. The way I made it was a little thin, so Hubby and I each ate about 1/4 of the pan. You could make it thicker as I mentioned earlier, or serve it with a side of rice and refried beans, or a salad. It was so cheesy and melty and delicious and heart attacky.
I had never had homemade refried beans until a friend of mine opened my eyes to the amazing possibilities. We make them for breakfast tacos, but they are good any time of day. For this recipe you’ll need some cooked beans, preferably pinto or black, garlic, garlic salt, and either bacon or olive oil, depending on your preferences. I start out by cooking some bacon.
While that’s cooking I chop 4-5 cloves of garlic up very finely.
Oh look! Beans that are already cooked, as if by magic! (I’m like Rachel Ray, but with a normal-sized mouth).
Once the bacon is mostly done, start the garlic browning. If you’re making vegetarian refried beans, brown the garlic in olive oil. Turn the heat down pretty low for this.
I use garlic salt and sriracha to flavor mine, and the potato masher will be very important in a minute. I don’t just take photos of random crap on my counters, this is all part of my plan.
Put a bunch of beans in the pan and mix in the bacon fat or olive oil. Let that heat up a little bit.
Once the beans are warm, smash them with the potato masher (see? The plan! I had one!). Warm beans are a little easier to squish than cold ones, in my opinion. Once you have everything smashed thoroughly, let the beans cook a little more. You want to cook off some of the liquid until they reach a consistency you like. But remember, the beans will thicken as they cool, so let them cook until they are slightly runnier than you’d like. That way, when you serve them they should be just right. If your beans are too dry you can add warm water or olive oil a little at a time to get a consistency you like.
I made these beans into breakfast tacos with the bacon, but I ate all the results before I took a picture. Meh. I had plenty of extra, and I’ve made quesadillas also, which were amazing. This process is way easier than I thought it would be, and it’s very easy to make a small batch to experiment. You can use canned beans, or beans you’ve cooked from scratch yourself. And it’s an excuse to eat bacon!
I love making quesadillas. They are hot, cheesy, melty, and easy to make. You can put almost anything in there and they are delicious. Once, Dr. Stacey and I made some with brisket in there, and yup, amazing. Today I used cooked, cubed, fajita chicken, onions, and cheese.
Just lay the bottom tortillas on a cookie sheet, and place the fillings on top. Try to keep everything on the tortillas so the clean up is easy.
Sprinkle cheese on top, add top tortillas, and put them in the oven at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Once the cheese is melty and the edges are crisp they are ready to come out.
Gorgeous and tasty!
Other filling ideas: beans, peppers, jalapenos, spinach, mushrooms, pretty much any kind of meat. These are a great way to use up leftovers, or tiny bits of things, like when you have just half a chicken breast, and don’t know what to do with it. There are tons of combinations that would be great, so have fun with it.
One of the girls at work has a tiny obsession. I’ve been hearing about it for a month at least. She has to restrict herself to partaking only once a week, at least during work, or risk being judged harshly for her weakness of character. The name of her addiction? Tacodeli.
It seems innocuous enough. A decent sized restaurant, with plenty of parking, located near MoPac on Burnet. Normal looking people coming and going, but all with a horrible secret. They know the addiction that dare not speak its name: Tacodeli. I decided to join my fated coworker after she brought me some free queso from there once, but as they say, only the first taste is free.
I got the Frontera Fundido Portabella taco. It was so delicious I wanted 53 more. That with a side of chips and queso, and I am hooked. My mouth is watering, and my stomach is growling even now. My coworker now has a compatriot to visit her den of sinfully cheap and delectable Tex Mex, and she is attempting to convert others in the office as well.
Plus, all the tables are painted really cute! So I totally loved it. Join us! Buwahahaha!!!
I baked tons of veggies and meat all at once the other day, and made some beans in the crock pot. This fed me and Hubby for the week, and here are some of the recipes I made with all that.
I started by making a cup of instant rice, mixed in a cup of my beans noir, 1/2 a can of Rotel tomatoes, 3 slices of American cheese, and about a 1/3 of a can of refried beans. I also mixed in some garlic salt, chili powder and cumin.
Add a pile of veggies and some sliced tomatoes, and it was awesome. Healthy, fast, and delicious!
We simply microwaved and ate a bunch of the batch cooking for lunches and dinners for the week. I also shredded a bunch of chicken and made chicken salad, a pot of Mexican chicken soup, and a whole pan of chicken enchiladas.
When we got to the point when there were a couple tupperware of veggies left, I made a big casserole. It was like a broccoli rice casserole, but all kinds of veggies.
This is what you’ll need: 2 cups of instant rice, 1 can of cream of chicken, 1 can of broccoli cheese soup, and about 2 cups of shredded cheese, along with all the veggies.
Mix all that stuff together, but save at least one cup of cheese. Spread the mix into the casserole dish, and spread the last cup of cheese over the top.
And it was delicious! Cheese makes sure everything gets eaten!
Hubby and I had date night the other night, which involved going to the dollar theater and the Mexican restaurant next door. The Mexican place was super cheap, and the food was decent enough that I’d go back. The dollar theater was cheap, as always, and did not disappoint.
The dollar theater is tiny, the candy is expensive, it smells like mildew, but it’s only $1.50 to get in! I love it! Nothing good was playing (ugh, the big budget waste that is Hollywood), so we went to see “How to Tame Your Dragon”. It’s a 3D animation kid’s movie by Dreamworks, where a Viking kid is raised to kill dragons. He accidentally traps one, and they learn to trust each other.
This is the main dragon, Toothless. He acted just like our fat cat Mushroom. He was so freaking adorable, I wanted to jump in the screen and scratch his widdle chin till he purred! The whole movie was really cute and funny, and highly enjoyable.
They didn’t have the typical big, sad scene in the middle where the two best friends fight and hate each other over a disagreement, which made me happy. Pixar tends to wallow in sadness with a massive depressing montage in the middle of all their movies. Don’t get me wrong, I love Pixar, but how many times can Woody and Buzz hate each other, then get back together? It’s like a soap opera!
I completely recommend this movie to anyone. It was fun, hilarious, and really well made. It has the Clever Chick stamp of approval!
I apologize in advance if this post isn’t 100% coherent. I am starving right now, and the enchiladas I’m about to write about are in the oven, filling my home with the delicious scent of temptation; the temptation to burn my entire mouth with a scalding ball of cheese encased in a searing tortilla. (Homer Simpson voice) “MMmmmm, searing tortilla….*drools*”.
You will need: tortillas (about 10), cheddar or colby jack cheese (2 cups, shredded, more for cheese enchiladas), one can enchilada sauce, 1 uncooked cup rice, Rotel or salsa. Optional: onions, beans, peppers, and whatever fillings you want.
The way I start out is with a 13×9 casserole dish, sprayed with a little non-stick spray. Cook the rice how the directions on the package say. When it’s cooked, mix about a 1/3 cup cheese, 1/4 cup enchilada sauce, and as much drained Rotel or salsa as you’d like. I also usually throw in some chili powder and garlic salt. You want this mixture to taste great on it’s own, like so good you might think, “Forget enchiladas, this s**t is awesome!”
Spread the rice mixture into the bottom of your 13×9, and flatten it out. One important note about rice: Make sure it is 100% cooked before you start doing other stuff to it. It will not get softer in the oven, and your whole meal will be ruined by crunchy rice. Also do not believe the package. It might really take 22 minutes, not 20. Trust your mouth, not your eyes. I speak from personal experience. (I always said this blog would catalog my failures as well, so you could learn from them).
Now you have the rice in the bottom of the pan, turn the oven on to 350 degrees to preheat. Pour about half the remaining enchilada sauce into a bowl. Dip a tortilla in on both sides, so it is coated in sauce. Lay this tortilla on top of the rice, and put whatever filling in it you want: cheese, onions, beans, cooked ground beef or chicken, spinach and cheese, whatever you can imagine, some weirdo in Cali has probably done it. I had squash and corn enchiladas there once. Those people are strange. Squash and corn mixed together? Don’t try to call that Mexican food! Anyways, back to the food.
You should have the tortilla laid flat, with the filling in a line down the middle. Now roll it up, not tight, just fold the sides over. Turn it over, and nestle it gently into the rice. The rice keeps them rolled up, and absorbs any excess sauce. I lay them in the pan 8 perpendicular to the pan, and two long ways.
Once the pan is full, pour the rest of the enchilada sauce over the top. You can throw some diced raw onion on top also. Spread the remaining cheese, about a cup to two cups, over the top. Pop the pan into the oven for 30 to 45 minutes. This just depends how crispy or melty you want your enchiladas.
I did the math for my groceries, and a pan of ten enchiladas, filled with beans and cheese, with the rice underneath, costs about $6. For the whole pan. That is CHHEEEEAAAAPPP!!! And you know I love me some cheap food. This will be dinner for me and hubby, plus my lunch for tomorrow, or about $2 per meal. That beats the cheapest hole-in-the-wall Mexican place, ever!
There is a debate about flour versus corn tortillas. Corn is more authentic, but I like flour because they soak up the sauce, and hold together well. It’s up to your preferences. Oh! I almost forgot to tease the yankees! It’s pronounced ehn-chill-AHH-dahs. I tease because I love!!
Yes, because there is still chicken in the fridge. This week I’m going to attempt a few new recipes, because I got a whole chicken on sale for $0.79 per pound. One of my favorite inventions is Mexican Chicken Soup. It’s great because it’s very hearty, and a great way to use white meat, which can be dry otherwise. Chicken is very unpopular in my house, so I have to dress it up various ways when I want some or need to use it up.
You will need: chicken (hopefully already cooked and shredded as per my earlier post), refried beans, corn, and Rotel or canned tomatoes, beans (pinto or black).
Optional ingredients: rice, bell peppers, other peppers, onions, jalepenos (pronounced hall-ah-PEN-yos for you Yankees), leftover salsa, cilantro and whatever else your little heart desires.
Start off with a can of refried beans and some water or chicken broth. This will be your broth, which makes the soup really thick and gives it a smoky flavor. You could even leave the chicken out of this recipe to make a great vegetarian soup, assuming you use vegetarian beans as well. Mix the water or broth and refried beans in a pot on the stove. You may need to squish the beans around a little with a spatula to help them liquefy.
Once you have your broth add your cooked chicken, beans, raw onions, rice, Rotel or canned tomatoes (don’t drain the tomatoes), corn, and whatever other ingredients you have planned to throw in. Stir everything around and let it cook together for about half an hour on medium. It doesn’t actually matter how long or what temp you cook it at, as long as you don’t burn it and everything gets hot. When you are using pre-cooked ingredients everything becomes a lot simpler.
Now spice to taste. I generally use garlic salt, chili powder, and ground cumin. You can also try paprika, dried onion, onion powder, Tony Chachere’s, garlic powder, whatever you enjoy and have laying around.
If you are working with an unfamiliar spice, taste a bit with your finger, or dish up a tiny bit of soup and mix some in, then taste it. It would suck to try and be adventurous, only to find that you hate curry, and have ruined the whole batch of soup, or whatever you’re making.
This soup can be made as spicy or mild as you prefer, and easily vegetarian or vegan. It is great with a bit of tortilla chip crumbs or sour cream on top, or with chips and guacamole. Yummers!
I have several friends that are vegetarian, and I have one cheap and easy recipe that everyone, vegetarian or not, loves. Even my brother-in-law who hardly eats had TWO helpings the other day!
You will need: about 10 Tortillas (corn or flour); one can refried beans; one can black or pinto beans; one can Rotel tomatoes (that’s tomatoes with chilies); one can corn; one cup (dry) rice; 2-3 cups shredded cheese.
Preheat the over to 350 degrees.
If you are making this for a vegetarian, make sure to get vegetarian canned beans. Refried beans are often made with lard, which is pig fat, and other beans are usually flavored with bacon. For the rice, I generally use brown rice. It takes longer to cook, but it adds a great texture to the casserole, and it’s healthier.
Cook the rice according to the directions. Once it’s done mix the refried beans, whole beans, drained Rotel, and drained corn all in the same pan, to avoid making extra dishes. You can add some chili powder and garlic salt at this point if you’d like. I usually add some cayenne also, because we like it SPICY. Optional additions: raw chopped onions, or bell peppers. Now is a good time to taste it to make sure it has plenty of flavor.
Use your basic 13×9 casserole dish. Spray a little bit of baking spray on the sides and bottom. Lay tortillas down in the bottom of the dish, coating the bottom. This doesn’t have to be perfect, and I usually tear big chunks to cover holes.
Spread about half your rice and bean mixture on top of the tortillas. Try to keep them in place. Sprinkle about half the shredded cheese on top of this. Add another layer of tortillas, the same way as before. Spread the rest of the filling mixture on top, then sprinkle the rest of the cheese. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes. Once it’s bubbling around the sides and the cheese on top is all melted, it’s done!
I usually cut the casserole with a knife before trying to lift it out, or else the tortillas can pull the whole thing apart. It also lifts out of the pan beautifully and cleanly because of the tortillas on the bottom.
Variations: low carb – leave out the rice, use corn tortillas. This is the perfect way to use up leftover taco meat or chicken bits also, assuming you aren’t cooking for a vegetarian. You can mix in leftover salsa, or enchilada sauce as well, for an extra kick.
It’s also very tasty with a side of sour cream, raw tomatoes, or my super easy guacamole.
You can also double this recipe very easily, or even just expand it by adding an extra can of beans or refried beans. On the rare occasion we have leftovers, it reheats perfectly, and still tastes fantastic. Yum!!