Vegetarian | Clean eating | Dairy-free option | Soy-free | Gluten-free option
Meet my husband’s favorite meal:
Ok, so it’s really hard to make enchiladas look sexy, but trust me, they’re awesome. The key is the homemade enchilada sauce. I love restaurant enchiladas, but never loved how they tasted when I made them at home using the canned sauce. The homemade stuff a total game-changer. I make a double batch so that I can freeze half of it for another time. For our family, I can get away with stretching the filling to two 9×9 pans–one for now, and one to either give away or freeze for later (the Hefty foil pans are ideal for either use). So when I double the sauce, I get enough for four dinners’ worth of deliciousness!
Keep this one clean with whole-grain tortillas and less-processed chicken broth in the sauce. Make it truly vegetarian with “no-chicken” broth. Make it dairy-free with vegan cheese: we use Daiya cheddar shreds and it tastes similar enough that my husband and kids don’t pitch a fit. Make it gluten-free with the right tortillas.
Black Bean and Corn Enchiladas
Enchiladas: adapted slightly from here.
- tortillas of choice
- 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup frozen corn, defrosted
- 6 oz (1 1/2 cups) shredded Mexican blend cheese or Daiya shreds, divided
- heaping 1/2 tsp cumin
- heaping 1/2 tsp paprika
- 2 cups enchilada sauce (below)
- 1/4 cup onions strained from sauce (see below)
- Preheat oven to 375 and spray a baking dish (one 9×13 or two 8x8s).
- In a large bowl, combine the beans, corn, 4 oz (1 cup) of the cheese, spices, and strained onions. Use a fork to mash some of the beans so that mixture is chunky and incorporated, keeping some of the beans whole.
- Lay a tortilla flat and spoon about 2 heaping Tbsp (or more, if you like a larger filling-to-tortilla ratio) into the center. Roll it up and place seam-side down in the prepared baking dish, then repeat until dish is filled.
- Pour sauce over enchiladas (if preparing 2 pans, pour 1 cup over each pan), then top with remaining shredded cheese. (If freezing, wrap well with foil and plastic wrap and freeze at this stage. Then thaw 24 hours before baking.) Bake, uncovered, 25-30 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is melted.
Enchilada sauce: adapted from here. Tip: Double it!
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-3 Tbsp chili powder, to taste
- 1 Tbsp cumin
- 1 tsp salt
- 15-oz. can tomato sauce
- 1 cup chicken (or no-chicken) broth
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute for a few minutes, until just beginning to brown around the edges. Add the garlic, spices, and salt; toast until fragrant, about a minute.
- Stir in the tomato sauce and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes.
- Remove sauce from heat and pour through a strainer set over a bowl. Use a rubber spatula to press the onions into the mesh and force out more of the sauce. Save about 1/2 cup of the onions to mix into the filling.
- This makes about 2 cups sauce. It keeps in the fridge for up to a week, or the freezer for up to 3 months!
Now that Mini-Munchkin is nearly three months, I probably have to stop using the “I have a newborn” excuse & start posting a little more regularly.
With that, here’s the first of what will likely be many quick-prep meals for those nights when you have literally 5 minutes in the kitchen.
A friend of mine from my local chapter of the National MOMS Club brought this dish over after I had the Mini-Munchkin. This thick, hearty, almost-chili soup was an instant hit, so I asked her for the recipe. It was so easy she was actually embarrassed to give it to me! But I love easy, so I’m not embarrassed at all to share this with you.
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 packet taco seasoning
- 3/4 cup water*
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 can condensed tomato soup
- 2 cans black beans, undrained
- 2 cans corn, drained
- tortilla chips, cheese, sour cream, etc., for serving
*or however much your particular taco seasoning calls for
- Brown the ground beef. Drain.
- Reduce heat to medium-low. Add taco seasoning & water. Stir.
- Add remaining ingredients. Stir.
- Cover; simmer until heated through or as long as you want.
That’s it! Yum!
I’ve been MIA for awhile… We’re preparing for Baby Girl to get here in less than 2 weeks, & my energy level hasn’t exactly kept up with the to-do list.
One item on that to-do list that I have been able to check off has been to make double batches of meals & freeze half, like these meatballs, & these taquitos:
I adapted the recipe from the Our Best Bites that have been all over Pinterest. Theirs uses green salsa & green onions; not having either of those on hand, I made mine “red” taquitos. (Or rather, since they’re creamy, maybe they’re “pink” taquitos.) I also decreased the spice factor a little, since The Munchkin seems to not sleep well after consuming moderate amounts of chili powder. Weird? Yes. Could just be correlation rather than causation, but it’s true.
- 3 oz. Neufchatel cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup medium salsa
- 1 Tbsp. lime juice
- 1/2 tsp. cumin
- 1/2 tsp. chili powder
- 1/2 tsp. onion powder
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. dried cilantro (or 3 Tbsp. fresh, but seriously, dried cilantro is like my new favorite addition to my spice cabinet)
- 1 Tbsp. finely minced yellow onion
- 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
- 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
- small flour or corn tortillas*
* I first tried it with both types, & while the corn would be healthier & higher in fiber, they just didn’t hold up. Observe:
The cracked ones on the left are the corn. So now I just use flour.
- Preheat oven to 425 & line a baking sheet with parchment.
- In a large bowl, combine first 6 ingredients until well incorporated. Then mix in the cilantro & onions.
- Add chicken & cheese & mix thoroughly.
- Heat a few tortillas at a time between 2 paper towels in the microwave for 20-30 seconds or so. Then spoon a couple Tbsp. of the chicken mixture onto the bottom third of a tortilla & roll it as tightly as possible. Place, seam-side-down, on the cookie sheet.
- Repeat with remaining chicken mixture & tortillas, then spray with cooking spray & sprinkle with salt.
- Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden.
- If you want to freeze them, place them in a single layer on a greased baking sheet & freeze for a half hour or so, then place in a labeled Ziploc bag for up to 3 months & bake at 425 for 20 minutes.
- If you have leftovers, freeze any baked taquitos & microwave on high for a minute to a minute & 10 seconds. They won’t be crispy, but still delicious.
Now, I will likely be MIA for a little while longer until I get used to being a mommy of 2 Munchkins. Until then!
When I was pregnant with The Munchkin, I craved Mexican food ALL THE TIME. We were living in Indiana, where the owners of Mexican restaurants seemed to hail from no further south than North Dakota, so when we headed west to visit family for Christmas, I gorged on as much as I could. One of my favorite places is Cafe Rio. No, not authentic Mexican, but at least they don’t try to pass off Italian tomato sauce as salsa. (I wish I were joking about that.)
Maybe we’ve been living without good Mexican — or at least a Del Taco — for too long now, but the Mexican cravings are much less frequent this time around.
Still, when Mommy needs her Cafe Rio, SHE NEEDS her Cafe Rio.
Now, like I said, it’s been awhile since we’ve eaten there, so I really couldn’t tell you how close this comes to the real thing. But the copycat J-Dawgs sauce has been such a hit among fellow former Provo-dwellers that I thought I’d put this one out there for more people to try. Tweaks from people who’ve had the real thing more recently are appreciated.
I’m lifting this almost exactly from Favorite Family Recipes. Go there to find her black bean recipe too; I didn’t have the energy to make one more component just to satisfy a craving, especially since I always order my salads with no beans anyway.
Sweet Pork Barbacoa:
- 2 lbs. pork
- 3 cans regular — not Diet — Coke (caffeine-free, of course! ;-)). Our local grocery store sells 2-liter bottles of caffeine-free cola for 98 cents! So I just do that.
- 1 1/4 cups brown sugar, divided
- sprinkle of garlic salt
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 can diced green chilies
- 3/4 can red enchilada sauce (Old El Paso, medium)
- Marinate pork inside a gallon Ziploc bag with about 18 oz. of Coke & 1/4 cup of brown sugar, a few hours or overnight.
- Drain marinade. Place pork in the bottom of a slow cooker. Add 6 oz. of Coke & the water. Sprinkle garlic salt over the top. Cook on high 3-4 hours, until it shreds easily.
- Remove the pork, drain liquid in the slow cooker, & shred the pork.
- In a blender or food processor, blend 6 oz. Coke with the green chilies, enchilada sauce, & remaining brown sugar. Add more brown sugar &/or Coke to suit your taste & ideal consistency.
- Add shredded pork & sauce to slow cooker. Cook on low 2 hours.
- 1 cup uncooked white rice
- 1 tsp. butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. lime juice
- 1 can (15 oz.) chicken broth (I used low-sodium & had to add a little salt to get the taste to my liking)
- 1 cup water
- 1 Tbsp. lime juice
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 3 Tbsp. fresh chopped cilantro
- In a saucepan combine rice, butter, garlic, 1 tsp. lime juice, broth, & water; bring to a boil.
- Cover; simmer on low 15-20 minutes, until rice is tender. Remove from heat.
- In a small bowl combine last 3 ingredients. Fold into rice as you fluff the rice.
- 1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch mix (NOT Buttermilk)
- 1 cup mayo
- 1 cup buttermilk (make your own by pouring 1 Tbsp. lemon juice or vinegar into the bottom of a measuring cup, then filling it up the rest of the way to the 1-cup line, then let it sit for a few minutes to curdle)
- 2 tomatillos, husk removed, diced
- 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
- 1 clove garlic
- juice of 1 lime (2 Tbsp. if you’re using bottled like me)
- 1 jalapeno, seeded, chopped
- Throw everything in the blender & blend it. Done.
Make your salad:
- If desired, place a tortilla in the bottom of your dish, sprinkle with cheese, & place in the oven for a few minutes to let it melt.
- Layer beans (if using), meat, rice, & lettuce. Top with dressing, guac, a sprinkle of cheese, & maybe some tortilla strips.
So delicious & so easy!
A half recipe more than filled us up, but I’ll post the full recipe anyway. I got it from Better Homes & Gardens.
- 4 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
- 1 can (4 oz.) green chilies
- 1 cup lowfat sour cream, plus more to serve with
- 8 oz. shredded Mexican blend cheese, divided
- 16 6-inch tortillas
- 2 cans (10 oz. each) red enchilada sauce
- Preheat your oven to 375.
- In a large bowl, combine chicken, undrained chilies, sour cream, & 1 cup of the cheese.
- Spread 1 cup of the sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Spoon chicken mixture down the center of a tortilla, roll up, & place, seam side down, in the bottom of the dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas & chicken mixture.
- Bake, covered, 20 minutes or until heated through.
- Remove from oven, remove foil, & sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake another 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
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