It is that time of year again. The kids are back in school, football is back on the tele, and you are back in front of the stove instead of hanging out on your deck, watching a shirtless hottie flip burgers. So what if he’s your neighbor — it is understandable to feel a bit down.
Well keep your chin up and let’s focus on the positives. First of all, I did not write “chins up.” No, you will not have the plural chins until deep into winter.
Secondly, whatever you decide to put in that oven you ultimately get to enjoy. Thirdly, the family dinners, the real ones, around the table, are back into full swing now that the summer-run-amok is over. This should bring out the Donna or Donald Reed in you. Embrace it.
Now when you look at little Timmy and Susie sitting down to a nice home-cooked meal and you ask “What did you do today?” and they invariably answer “nothing,” at least you know they are doing nothing in an academic environment.
These enchiladas are a great busy schedule dish because they are made with ingredients available right off the shelf at your local grocer and you can make a double batch, freezing one pan (uncooked) for later use.
You can prepare them all with the traditional beans and beef filling, or mix it up and make some with simply beans and cheese for the child who says she is a healthy vegetarian but still eats a large bag of Flaming Hot Cheetos in one sitting.
You can even reserve a few with no beans for “you know who.” The choice depends entirely on your household. Whatever you do, do not omit the black olives — they really add something to the final flavor mix. I like to serve it with a finely chopped salad of lettuce, tomato, avocado, red onion and cilantro dressed lightly with a vinaigrette.
1 pound ground beef
1 onion, finely chopped
1 package McCormick Taco Seasoning Mix
2 cans (13.5 ounces) S&W Chili Beans
1 can (28 ounces) Las Palmas Enchilada Sauce
1 tsp. sugar
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, sharp or mild
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
12 large Canteca corn tortillas, available at Save Mart
1/4 cup corn oil
1 (3.8 ounce) can sliced black olives
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sauté ground beef and half of chopped onions. Add taco seasoning and prepare according to package directions. Set aside.
Heat chili beans with remaining onions until hot. Set aside. Heat enchilada sauce with sugar until sugar is blended. Set aside.
Get out large 13x9 inch baking pan, one cookie sheet and have cheeses handy.
Heat oil in large frying pan until hot. Using a pair of tongs, fry the tortillas in the oil, one at a time, until slightly hardened, about 30 seconds. Using tongs again, remove from oil and dip half the tortilla in the enchilada sauce.
Place on cookie sheet and repeat, making a nice neat stack of sauced tortillas. Begin filling tortillas.
First sprinkle with a little Parmesan, then, in the center of the tortilla, add beef, bean or both. Top with cheddar cheese and roll closed. Place in baking pan. Repeat until all tortillas are gone.
Ladle about 1/4 cup of remaining sauce on top of all and then sprinkle on leftover cheese. Sprinkle on olives. Bake for 30 minutes, remove from oven, cool 10 minutes before cutting. Serve topped with a dollop of sour cream and salsa.
Makes 12 enchiladas.
Simone Grandmain is an internationally published travel and food writer who currently calls Truckee-Tahoe home. She welcomes your recipes, kitchen “must-haves” and food news at simone_grandmain@ hotmail.com.