Beef Enchiladas and Spanish Rice

This winter is dragging on and on. We got snow yesterday. I have yet to store my winter coat, and switch out my sweatshirts for tshirts. I cannot go outside without wearing socks, for fear of freezing my purple-painted toes off. This makes me very sad.

I love summer. I love the greenness; summer means Cass’ birthday, my mom and sister’s birthdays, my birthday, my wedding anniversary, and the 4th of July. It means grilling out every other night. This year, summer means a week-long trip to Mexico. I can’t WAIT to go to Mexico and wear maxi dresses and my swimsuit. I can’t wait to drink margaritas on the beach, and I can’t wait to see our swim-up hotel room. It’s. Going. To. Be. AWESOME.

The problem is that we are still in March, and it’s still only 40 degrees outside, and I still have to wear socks everyday. So, to cheer myself up, I made enchiladas.

This was my first-ever attempt at enchiladas, so I was kind of nervous. Making the tortillas takes a certain amount of skill… but I’ll get to that later.

Here’s what you need for the enchiladas:

  • 1.5 lbs. beef (or 2-3 chicken breasts, if you’d rather!)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 C. shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • 1 can enchilada sauce (I used Old El Paso’s 10 oz.)
  • 1/2 C water
  • 8 tortillas (my mom’s recipe calls for 6″ corn tortillas, but I used flour. It’s whatever.)

And for the Spanish rice:

  • 1/2 C chopped onion
  • 1 small can chopped green chiles
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 C salsa (picante sauce works, too)
  • 1 C water
  • 1 C enriched white rice

Start making the rice first, because it takes a little longer to cook. So here’s what you need to do:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Saute the onion in a small pot. Add the green chiles, garlic, rice, salsa, and water.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Transfer to a casserole dish, cover, and bake for 45 minutes. (It looks really weird and soupy when you first put it in the oven. Don’t worry. It’ll be okay.)

Practice your multi-tasking skills, and start browning your hamburger (or chicken, or whatever) as you are bringing the rice mixture to a boil. That way, your ready to start the enchiladas ASAP. To make those, you need to do this:

  • Spray a 9×13 baking pan, then set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine your (cooked!) meat, chopped onion, and 1 cup of cheese.
  • In a skillet, combine the enchilada sauce and water. Bring to a boil.
  • Place a tortilla in the sauce to soften it. (IMPORTANT: This only takes a few seconds! Don’t leave the tortilla in there for too long, or it’ll become a mushy mess. No bueno.) Remove the tortilla with a spatula, and let excess sauce drip off.
  • After the tortilla has been sauced, fill it with approximately 1/4 cup of the prepared filling. (I added a little more because my tortillas were bigger than the recommended recipe. Just eyeball it.) Roll the tortilla up and place in the prepared baking pan.
  • Repeat the softening-and-filling procedure until all tortillas are filled.
  • Coat the enchiladas with any remaining sauce, and sprinkle with cheese.
  • Cover with foil, and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes; uncover and bake for 5 minutes more.

Enchiladas are tricky. I won’t even try to fool you into thinking they are an “easy” meal, because it is hard (for me) to do the softening-and-filling part without making a total mess.  There was enchilada sauce EVERYWHERE last night. The good news is that these are SO good, and have a really mild spiciness. (You can always add cumin or chili powder if you want to kick it up a notch!) Hot, cheesy, and spicy, these were a great way to kick Cass and I out of our winter blues!

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