Enchiladas

Mmm..enchiladas. Another variety of the tortilla, meat, and cheese combination that is slathered and baked in a tangy red sauce. There are many varieties of enchiladas, but I prefer my enchilada sauce just like I do for spaghetti - thick and with a bit of kick to it. Interestingly, I made White Chicken Enchiladas (super yum!) before trying the standard red sauce version, but this has been on my list for a long time. Plus, just like marinara sauce tends to be a lighter choice than Alfredo, red sauce enchiladas are not quite as covered in cheese and slightly more diet friendly.

While it's obviously easy to buy a can of enchilada sauce, I think it's clear by now that I don't always opt for the easy route. Making the dish from scratch not only teaches me how so that I can do it in the future, but gives me more control over the ingredients of the dish. With me taking more control of my diet, this is vital. Sometimes when I read labels on foods, I am amazed at all the sugar and salt that is added in. Let's just keep it as basic as I can (though starting off with homemade tortillas and a non-canned tomato paste is even more ideal, I'm working with what I've got here!)


The sauce is pretty basic. I took tomato paste, chicken broth, chili powder, cumin,  crushed red pepper, garlic paste, oregano, and salt together in a saucepan and heated the mixture to a simmer. Since I picked up some ghost pepper hot sauce not long ago, it was perfect to throw that in the mix.


After the sauce was ready, I poured it into a heatproof bowl and set it aside. I then browned the ground beef in a large skillet and mixed in some cooked white rice and some mixed shredded cheese.


Sauce? Check. Filling? Check. Time to stuff those tortillas! I spread some sauce in the bottom of a casserole--just enough to create a thin layer the tortilla would stick to. I stuffed the tortilla like I would a taco, filling it in the center and then setting it in the edge of the casserole. I folded the ends of the tortilla over each other to create a little burrito, and moved on to the next one.


I continued this process 5 more times, until the casserole was fully booked.


The sauce went on top of the tortillas, followed by a final sprinkle of cheese.


Spicy was definitely right! If you skip the ghost pepper hot sauce, you will have an enchilada that is much better for those who don't like spicy food, because dry chili powder is not nearly as potent as the hot sauce. But I loved the heat! The sauce was slightly thicker than a can of tomato sauce, just the consistency I like. For a thinner sauce, add 1/4 cup of water. Cumin goes great with many dishes, and didn't fail me here. I was very pleased with how these turned out!

Enchiladas Recipe

Ingredients:

1 pound ground beef
2 cups cooked rice
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon flour
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon ghost pepper hot sauce
8 ounces tomato paste
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon garlic paste
2 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded cheese

Instructions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. To make the sauce, combine tomato paste, chicken broth, chili powder, cumin,  crushed red pepper, garlic paste, oregano, and salt in a saucepan or skillet. Simmer on medium-low heat for 5-10 minutes, then move to a heat proof bowl. Cook ground beef in a skillet until meat is no longer pink. Stir in cooked rice and up to 1 cup of shredded cheese. Spread a small amount of enchilada sauce in the bottom of a large casserole dish, just enough to cover the bottom. Spoon about 1/6 of the filling into a tortilla and set on one of the far sides of the casserole. Fold the edges over and repeat with about 5 more tortillas, enough to fill the dish. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the top and sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

inspired by enchiladas

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