My dad retired on December 1st, so Dr. O and I flew back to Omaha for his retirement party a few weeks ago. Aunt Monica helped my mom make beef enchiladas as part of the party spread, and people just went crazy for them. Monica knows her Mexican food and is an awesome cook, so I was surprised to hear that the recipe wasn’t an old family secret. It actually came from the back of an Old El Paso enchilada sauce can! The flavor of the Old El Paso sauce is so good, she said she stopped making her own years ago. I can’t argue with convenience, and this recipe is a keeper.
First, I lightly greased a 17 x 10-inch glass dish. (The recipe says 9 x 13, but I used what I had.) In a 10-inch skillet, I cooked 1 pound of lean ground beef over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. When it was thoroughly cooked, I drained it and seasoned it with chili powder, cumin, and Lawry’s seasoned salt. Next, I added 3/4 cup of mild Old El Paso enchilada sauce and 1 cup of Kraft shredded Mexican cheese blend to the beef and stirred everything together.
I spooned (relatively) equal amounts of the beef filling onto 12 6-inch flour tortillas, rolled each one up, and placed the enchiladas seam side down in my prepared baking dish. They *just* fit.
I poured the rest of my 19-ounce can of enchilada sauce over the top of the enchiladas and sprinkled the dish with the rest of my shredded cheese. (The recipe says to top the enchiladas with 1/2 cup of cheese, but I knew it would go to waste if I didn’t just use the full cup I had on hand.) I baked the enchiladas at 375 F for 15 minutes, until the cheese was melted and the sauce was bubbly. I served them with black beans and my new favorite Spanish rice recipe.
For better or for worse, this may be the best Mexican food I’ve ever made. I pride myself on making most of my dishes from scratch, but the Old El Paso sauce makes the dish. Dr. O and I really enjoyed this meal, and I can’t wait to share it with company.
TIPS: The recipe on the can doesn’t say anything about seasoning the meat; that was a tip from Monica. You can skip it, if you want. I didn’t measure the amount of cumin, chili powder, and Lawry’s I used (*very* unlike me!), so just experiment until you’re happy with the flavor.
Also, I may leave the dish in the oven for 20 minutes instead of 15 next time so the enchiladas stay hot on the table longer.
Update 2/1/10: Leftover enchiladas freeze well! I usually separate them into individual portions in freezer bags and then microwave them. When you microwave them, they’ll cook more evenly if you cut apart any attached enchiladas. I usually microwave them for 1 minute on high, cut each enchilada in half (again for more even heating) and then put them back in for another minute or so. Cooking time depends on how many enchiladas you’re microwaving at once, of course.
Recipe link: Easy Beef Enchiladas