Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Enchilada Casserole With Home Made Red Sauce

Last night I wanted Mexican for dinner.  I was cooking, so it was my choice right?  Right!  If you follow this blog, you know my love for Mexican food and flavors.  They are my favorite, hands down anytime.

I had all the ingredients to make enchiladas which are also my favorite next to tamales.  I have never had the gumption to make tamales as they are quite a process, but one of these days I'ma gonna do it.  Really I am.  You will be the first to know if and when I do.

Enchiladas are also a process.  Have you ever tried to fill and roll corn tortillas?  They split unless you heat them in hot oil or you can dip them in the warm red sauce before you roll them.  It is messy and I am not very proficient at this technique or very patient. (Uh oh, cat's out of the bag).   If you don't do one of these two, then your enchiladas are cracked and all the filling is spilling out and they don't look very pretty.  Remember, I am not a chef nor have I ever worked in a Mexican restaurant, so I go for the easy way - better known as my way.  Hey, it works!  If you love enchiladas too, you are going to be SO happy I showed you my fake enchilada recipe.

I do make my red sauce from scratch.  It is a recipe from Allrecipes.com and it is easy, takes 10 minutes and is fabulous!  Doesn't take much longer than opening a can of prepared sauce and heating it up.

Here is what you need for the sauce:

1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 TBSP flour
1/4 cup chili powder (I use Mexene which is my personal favorite)
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 tsp cumin
1 clove garlic, pressed or minced super fine
salt to taste

Heat oil in a skillet or deep saucepan over medium high heat.  Stir in flour and chili powder, reduce the heat to medium.  Cook until lightly browned, stirring constantly so the flour doesn't burn.

Gradually stir in tomato sauce, water, cumin, and garlic until smooth.  Cook over medium heat approximately 10 minutes or until thickened slightly.  Season with salt to taste.

This sauce is as good as any you will get in a restaurant.  We LOVE it.  Now, to make the enchilada casserole, here is what you need.

12 corn tortillas (use flour if that is your preference, but enchiladas are made with corn tortillas)
2 pounds ground beef
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced.
2 packages taco seasoning
1 8 oz block cheddar cheese, grated

Brown the ground beef and onions in a large skillet.  Add taco seasoning and garlic. Mix thoroughly.   Drain ground beef if necessary.  (I use grass fed local beef and there is nothing to drain.)

Now to assemble the casserole.  You need a 9x13 baking dish.  Line the bottom of the dish with 6 corn tortillas.
Cover the tortillas with the browned ground beef mix.
Cover the ground beef with 2/3s of the grated cheese.
Drizzle with some of the red sauce.  Now, cover this with 6 more corn tortillas.  (Forgot to take a picture, oops).

Pur the remaining red sauce over the corn tortillas.
Look how beautiful that red sauce is and it tastes absolutely divine!

Sprinkle the remaining grated cheese over the red sauce.  If you want more cheese, go for it!
Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling.  Remove from oven and serve!

We had 4 grown men here for dinner last night and me.  This casserole got RAVE reviews.  Get that?  RAVE reviews!  Dan declared it better than our favorite Mexican restaurant's enchiladas which is quite a compliment.  We had this with black beans and Mexican rice.  Delicious.

Give this recipe a try the next time you are hungry for South of the border/Tex Mex flavors.  It will hit the spot.  You could easily halve this if you wanted, just use half the red sauce and refrigerate the rest for another meal.  Yum.  Yum.  Yum.  All I can say.

Everyday Donna

Things to Remember:

When cooking, sometimes it is okay to do things a little differently, especially if the end result is basically the same, takes less time and is easier to accomplish.  That's my philosophy.   donna

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