Monday, October 25, 2010

Cheese enchiladas

I've made this twice in the last two weeks, both times to rave reviews. Believe it or not, my nine year old even asked to try it and declared that it was delicious. "Maybe I can order this in a Mexican restaurant," he said. And while it's great to find something new that everyone in the family can enjoy, it's even better when it's a make-ahead sort of meal that requires less than 30 minutes to put together.

Here's what you need:

24 Corn tortillas
2-3 packages of shredded cheese (I used the Mexican mix, but any combination of Monterey Jack, cheddar, and/or Colby will work)
2 cans of enchilada sauce (I used mild green chili, but there are many varieties)
Diced green onions and diced black olives

In a large bowl, mix the cheese, olives and green onions together and set aside. Then coat the bottom of a baking dish with some enchilada sauce (I used two 9 x 13—give or take an inch or two—pans for two dozen enchiladas). Make sure to spread the sauce around, generously covering the bottom.
Next, heat about a tablespoon of corn oil in a nonstick skillet, and quickly fry the tortillas. I did this in batches of three, a fast in-and-out of the hot oil, then drain on a paper towel. I wasn't convinced this step was necessary, but trust me, if you don't fry the tortillas, they split and break apart when you try to roll them. This is the way my grandmother and mother made enchiladas, but not all recipes include this step. I tried to make a couple without it, but it was a mess.
Place a small handful of the cheese mixture in the center of each tortilla, roll, then place seam side down in the baking dish. You want to make sure the enchiladas are packed tight, sides touching, in the pan.
When the pan is filled, drizzle more sauce on top, and...
then cover with more cheese—a lot, a little, it's up to you. At this point, you can cover the pan with foil and refrigerate for up to 24 hours, or freeze. Or you can put it right into a hot oven.
Bake covered with foil at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbling. I removed the foil during the last five minutes of baking. Garnish with chopped green onions and sliced olives.

This same basic recipe can be adapted to make meat or chicken enchiladas. I would simple add shredded beef or chicken to the filling, and cut back on the amount of cheese. I served this with a side salad and yellow rice. And seriously? Yum.