Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Easy to Make Enchiladas Step by Step

I love finding new ways to use leftovers and enchiladas is one of the easiest!!  They also happen to be a family favorite.  I usually make a big batch of enchilada sauce (recipe here) which makes the one batch to eat now and at least two to freeze.  I love to pull all the ingredients out of the fridge and freezer but it doesn't always work that way.  At least I can pull out the ingredients and figure out what I have to make.

I was doing the two different enchilada sauces to do the side by side taste test so I spread them in the pan.  Normally, I would spread it evenly across.  This is a really important step to make sure that your enchiladas don't stick to the bottom of the pan.

The next very important step is to microwave the corn tortilla shells so that they are soft or flexible.  If the shells are dry, the easiest thing is to wet a paper towel and squeeze it out a little. Wrap the tortillas in the wet paper towel with the seams on the bottom when you put them in the microwave.  My shells were the last in the package and really wet so I microwaved without the paper towel this time.  While they were still warm, put each one into the pan.  We like a lot of cheese so I put a little shredded cheese in the bottom.  It also helps to know which part is the inside when you come back around to put in the next layer.

I had been putting a little bit of leftover seasoned taco meat in the freezer whenever we finished our meal and I had a pretty big bag that was ready for enchiladas.  I took it out of the freezer and put it in the microwave until it was a little thawed... no need to be hot.  I scooped the meat evenly in the shells.

At the same time that I started pulling everything out of the cupboard, fridge and freezer, I had to make a pot of our saffron rice.  I got tons of these for free so there were still a bunch of the spicy ones in the cupboard because they are the ones that my son doesn't eat.  It took 20 minutes to get that cooked and luckily, I had that much time to pull everything together.   When the rice was cooked, I put that in the next layer.

Then, I added another layer of cheese.  YUM!!  Love cheesy enchiladas.

Here comes the hardest and messiest part.  Pull the two side of the shell together and roll upside down in the sauce.  The great part is that if your cracks like one of mine did, it is super easy to cover.  The step with microwaving helps to not have as many cracks.... so don't skip the step with the paper towel if you want them super pretty.

The next step is to spread the enchilada sauce over the top.  The important part is to make sure that all of the edges are covered because they can easily brown and burn if they aren't covered.  There is nothing worse then burnt dinner smelling up the kitchen.

The final step is to cover with the remaining shredded cheese.  I usually use a 8 oz block of cheese for the inside and the outside.  There is always room for more cheese so feel free to add to taste.

I put this in the fridge because I made it before dinnertime.  This is also a perfect recipe to make ahead and put in the freezer so that you can make a ton of different batches to have through the month when it gets a little busy.  My other really good tip is to take it out of the fridge and put it straight into the oven before you preheat the oven so the pan comes up to temperature with the oven.  I am not a huge fan of leaving the pan on the counter to warm up so I came up with this solution years ago and it adds a little more ease to the preparation and no planning ahead because I never remember to take the pan out to come up to room temperature.  In case you don't know, this is why pans break and shatter in the oven.  It isn't a problem with metal pans but I use pottery so it is a big issue. 

I leave the pan in the oven for about an hour until the cheese is nice and brown and we are ready to eat.  I put it straight on the table like this and serve with the pie server or spatuala.  The one side cuts and then I can pick up two at a time to put on the plates.

I don't always have the best aim in the serving but it all tastes the same and we super enjoy them.  If anything falls out of the end, it is the scoop that goes on top.  This time it was a little harder because we did a side by side comparison between the enchilada sauce and the red chili sauce.  We put a lot of effort into deciding that we loved both of them so I mixed them together to have next time.

I hope that you decide to make some of these yummy enchiladas or start filling the freezer with these yummy ingredients to make soon.  The best part is that you can add anything that you have around that your family likes including beans, onions, and lots more ingredients.  The best thing about these enchiladas is that when you fill the shells with lots of things that aren't meat, you stretch that meat and use a lot of less expensive ingredients but have a tasty, restaurant quality meal.  I hope that you enjoy these yummy enchiladas and a few kitchen tips to save time and money in your kitchen.


  1. Great post Alison! They look really good!

    My kids love an enchilada recipe from the Publix Apron program, they always beg me to make them. It uses one of those ready-made pot roast or beef tips meals and black beans. I haven't made them in a while. I need to think about putting that back on the menu at some point. They used to eat so many of them that I had bought a huge metal enchilada baking pan. Now that there's only 4 of us at home, I really ought to donate the pan!

    1. Enchiladas is one of those things that we always ate out... until we had a kid and our favorite restaurant closed. Then it was time to figure out how to do it at home even though we don't have bottomless chips at home...which is probably healthier :)


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