Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Easy Beef Enchilada Casserole with Easy Enchilada Sauce

How do you approach menu-planning, dinner prep, and cooking?  Do you plan out your meals and shop for the necessary ingredients?  Do you stock up on pantry and refrigerator staples and decide what to make for dinner based on what you have?

I recently did a FB poll (you know how "scientific" those are!) about using recipes or concocting.  Most of those who participated use recipes.  So do I, though I am not afraid to tweak or add or change as I go.

I also menu plan every two weeks and shop off a list that incorporates the ingredients needed to support my menu.  My sister has declared this stressful to her!

So, when bad snowy weather coupled with my laziness resulted in avoiding a trip to the grocery, I took my sister's challenge to just "wing it."  This is what I came up with, no trip to the store necessary!  For me, I had  cooked ground beef in the freezer, as well as homemade enchilada sauce.  I will do a future post on how to have some staple items prepped and ready to go for any given weeknight meal.  For this, if possible, buy double the amount of meat and double the enchilada sauce.  In separate freezer bags, freeze half of each for a future meal.

Easy Beef Enchilada Casserole
Source:  A Karla original

1 pound ground beef, browned, crumbled, and drained
1 onion, diced
salt and pepper to taste
3 cups easy enchilada sauce, divided 3 ways  (recipe follows)
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, diced fine
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
6-8 corn tortillas
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
sour cream, for serving

Easy Enchilada Sauce
1 tbl. canola or olive oil
1 onion, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
3 tbl. chili powder
3 garlic cloves, pressed
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. sugar
2 (8-oz.) cans diced tomatoes
1/2 cup water
salt and pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat until shimmering.  Add the onion and salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the chili powder, garlic, cumin, and sugar.  Cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds.  Stir in the tomato sauce and water.  Bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.  Slightly crush the tomatoes as the sauce simmers.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Directions for casserole:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  On top of a piece of foil, brush one side of each corn tortillas with olive oil.  Stack, wrap with foil, and bake in oven for 15 minutes.  When done, increase oven temperature to 350 degrees.

In a large skillet, brown the ground beef, until no longer pink, breaking into small crumbles as you cook.  Add the diced onion and saute until onion is tender.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Drain excess grease.  Add 1 cup of enchilada sauce, 1 cup of cheddar cheese, diced chipotle peppers, and cilantro.  Mix to combine.

In a medium sized round casserole, spoon one cup of enchilada sauce on bottom.  Layer a corn tortilla, top with meat mixture, and repeat, using remaining tortillas and meat.  End with a corn tortilla on top.  Spoon remaining cup of enchilada sauce on top and top with 1/2 cup cheddar cheese.

Bake covered for 30 minutes, until heated through.  Remove cover (lid or foil, whichever you used) and bake for 5 more minutes until cheese is bubbly and slightly golden.  Let stand for a couple minutes before serving.

1 comment:

  1. I am back to planning my menus out. I actually have a month planned. Each week I pick and choose what day to cook something. It is the only way I can be sure I try the recipes that I want to. I get a couple of cooking magazines and rip out recipes we want to try. Those go into a menu and I shop from that.

    I use recipes and create my own. And to be honest, I rarely follow a recipe exactly. - Michele


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