Sunday, June 9, 2024

I'm Burnin' for You

My Enchilada Casserole
It's heatwave-hot already and one must weigh working physically in the kitchen versus turning the oven on and heating up the small apartment for a period of time.  Enchiladas are a good hot weather food in that they are spicy and cooling at the same time.  However, making them from scratch can be time consuming and messy as you must dip and cheese and sauce, there is hot oil involved.  It's a lot of pans and dripping.  How could I get that authentic taste without all the effort?  
One time saver was to combine the homemade enchilada sauce with my ground meat.  
The Sauce: 
Heat oil in a pan (about a 1/4 cup), first add spices to toast (your favorite chili powder, a little cumin, onion powder and granulated garlic), then add ground turkey, garlic, onions.  Once the meat is entirely cooked through, 
Add flour (about 2 Tablespoons) to toast and make a roux. Heat until the flour smells toasty and gets slightly browned.
Add either a tomato base (canned tomato sauce with water**add Mexican oregano) or a broth base (chicken stock or Better than Bouillon with water) about 4 cups and stir to thicken. 
Adjust seasonings.  Cover and let cook for 10 minutes on low. 
Another timesaver; instead of rolling individual torts, I layered cut up strips like lasagna starting with a sauce on the bottom.  Not dipping in oil and sauce saved time and calories.  Pouring the sauce over allowed them to get coated without making them soggy.
I added corn, Monterey Jack cheese, jalapeno and onion and kept layering until finally...
...saucing and ending with a layer of cheese on top.  30-40 minutes in the oven at 350, and then topped with tomatoes and green onions and served on a bed of cool iceberg lettuce.  Like any casserole, you must let it set for 10 minutes before cutting into it but it's well worth the wait.  I could see adding a black bean layer with yogurt lime and cumin to mimic ricotta cheese. 
This is a great pantry meal because you can rely on canned beans, tomatoes, frozen corn, and even canned sauce although it's super easy to make your own.  This is festive, stores well, great for freezing or for lunch box meals.

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