Friday, May 11, 2012

Enchilada Smash Casserole "Recipe"

I haven't made this in ages and it was one of my favorites. I had some tomato paste that was near the date so I made a few batches of enchilada sauce and it was time to use it.  I thought I would share it so that you can make it for your family. 

I got into a rut because this was such an easy dish to make that my husband requested a long time ago that I don't only make "The Smash" and that I make him some normal enchiladas and tacos every once in awhile.  I have worked on perfecting not breaking the regular enchiladas through microwaving the shells, coating the pan in sauce, and a rolling method to flip the enchilada upside.  After finally getting the hang of it, I haven't made the enchilada smash casserole in ages.

Okay, so I totally forgot to take pictures when I was making everything earlier today because I don't really have a recipe and I just throw it together.  Picture the counter with a container of shredded cheese, a container of seasoned meat, plastic bag of corn tortillas, and plastic bag of enchilada sauce.  Wonderful, I am sure that your picture in your head was neater then my counter :)

I try to get the ingredient together ahead of time so that I can throw the casserole ahead of the dinner time rush (sometimes the night before but not always).  First step is to cook ground beef the way you would normally make tacos- whether with store bought seasoning from Ortega, Old El Paso or homemade seasoning mixture (I use taco meat warm- not cold because it is too hard to spread).  Grate cheese or use grated cheese from the store.  Third important ingredient is the corn tortillas.  Lastly, I took my homemade enchilada sauce out of the freezer or you can use the can from the store mixed with a small can of tomato paste to thicken (the store bought one is too thin on it's own for my tastes plus if you have kids, the tomato paste cools it down).  This time I also had a little leftover rice that I put in the top layer to use it up so you can customize to your family by adding beans or veggies but we like ours more plain.

Grab a casserole dish from the cupboard (I use a circle one that is a little bigger than the corn tortillas).
Cover the bottom of the casserole dish with a layer of enchilada sauce.  Layer ingredients starting with corn tortilla, followed by enchilada sauce, meat, and cheese.  Make sure to spread the enchilada sauce to the edge of the tortilla because if not it gets super crunchy when baking.  Repeat until there is no meat left or the casserole is to the top of the pan.  I usually add an extra tortilla topped with enchilada sauce and cheese so that it will have a nice crunchy cheese top.  The layers look like this on the side:

Bake at 400 (or 425) degrees for 45-60 minutes.  I normally cook it at the temperature of something else that I am cooking and I increase the heat when it is over so I wait until the top is browned and the inside is hot.  It is a really flexible dish because it really is already cooked and you are just melting all the cheese and other ingredients together.

After it is cooked and ready to eat, you can cut it with a long knife or use a pie cutter like I do because it also helps lift out the piece.  We cut it into four pieces usually but it makes for a big serving. 

It looks like this on your plate- YUM!

The remaining half looks like this... sort of a Mexican lasagna right?

It is a great casserole to make the night before while making dinner so that you have a night off!!!  I hope that you make and enjoy soon!!!

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