Sunday, January 5, 2014

Non Linear Leftovers- Smothered Enchiladas

We've all been there.  Scouring through the bits and pieces of leftovers, wondering "what to make?"  On a work night, when you're getting home late you don't want to spend an hour and a half preparing dinner and in any argument between you and the oven that's older than you, the oven is going to win.
So it was in the Range kitchen the other night after I finished work.  But I wanted to make something a little different than the expected, such open a can of sauce and boil spaghetti. Or I could have followed a recipe step by step.  No, I wanted to experiment.  There was a pound of burger defrosted, assorted staples, a little bit of  two or three different types of bagged cheese from the Christmas Party, half an onion and some day old  tortillas.
Enchiladas.  Smothered Enchiladas. Perfect for tortillas that are getting a bit stale and dry but which you don't want to waste.  And they were ready to pop in the oven in 15 minutes.

Brown the ground beef and half an onion, drain and stir in about 1/2 cup of water and one package of low sodium taco seasoning mix  (or make your own mix with a Tablespoon of chili powder and 1/2 tsp each of garlic powder, onion powder,  dried oregano, cumin, hot and smoked paprika and a dash of black pepper and sea salt).  Simmer until the liquid is absorbed, but the meat is still slightly wet, stirring occasionally.
In a bowl mix one undiluted can of cream of chicken soup (try homemade Range Cream of Cluck Soup to have on hand in the freezer for such recipes, it's cheaper without all the salt of canned) a can of Rotel (diced tomatoes and green chilis)  and a shake or two of crushed red pepper.

Place half of the sauce mixture in the bottom of an 8 x 8 or 10 x 10 casserole.
Fill six flour tortillas with the beef mixture and a sprinkle of Pepper Jack Cheese and roll up.

Place on sauce, cover with remaining sauce and a handful of shredded extra sharp cheddar.  Cover with foil and heat at 350 for about 25-30 minutes. Top with sour cream or onions or chopped pepper, whatever suits your fancy. Add some raw baby carrots and chips  to scoop up any remaining sauce.
This was so easy and tasty enough it will definitely be made again.  For a larger family this would double easily without having to do any special measurements.


  1. When you can make a wonderful meal out of left over stuff, now that is cooking. I try to cook like that and throw out very little. If there is anything left from the left over meal, there is always an no name stew or soup in the pot. If anything is to be thrown out finally, there are chickens, cats and the dog waiting.

  2. Around here, assuming any tortillas last long enough to go stale, we spray them with a bit of pan spray, lay 'em in a skillet and put shredded cheddar on one half, fold over, and brown the tortilla and melting the cheese.

  3. You my friend are the COO of cooking. Big Grin....

  4. Alternative method, Sonoran Style:

    Instead of rolling the enchiladas layer the tortillas like you were making a lasagna.

    This seems regional to Arizona and New Mexico, but it's faster, less work, and tastes the same.

  5. Sunnybrook Farm - I like the way you think. It is a rare event where a bit of food is thrown out, usually only when it got shoved to the back recesses of the fridge where it wasn't noticed until it was a science experiment you wouldn't feed the dog.

    Monkeywrangler - that sounds easy and good.

    Rob - use the mild taco seasoning and mild rotel, and even the kids would like these.

    Mathew Proust - I have to admit, I ate two, with all the trimmings and I usually do the "big breakfast, medium lunch, and tiny dinner" thing. They were really, really good for as easy as they were.

    Mark - that's a great idea, and yes, would have been easier. I have a small casserole perfect for that and will try it.

    Storm update if anyone is interested. I was to go to work tonight, and well, couldn't get transportation by air to where they wanted me, with the storm, so I'm playing Maytag Repairman tomorrow, then we'll go from there. We got about 10-12 inches of snow in the part of Indiana where I have my small rental "crash pad", though the landlord got the driveway plowed for me and my neighbor the young local police officer checked in to make sure all was well. (he's great about keeping an eye on the place when I'm gone). Fortunately he and his wife were off today, and their young boys were having fun in the snow, but he'll probably be out in it too soon.

    Wind is gusting to 40 mph and temps are dropping into the minus 15's tonight, so I am NOT leaving the house, at least until the bat phone rings again.

  6. Saw the news about all the snow in INDY stay warm

  7. spaghetti-chiladas. Looks good.

  8. After browsing your site, and reading a few posts and reader comments - I almost felt as if I should ask if anyone was home. I could smell the muffins and hear the tea kettle whistling on the stove.

    I stumbled on your site purely by accident. I was surfing conservative political sites which I have concentrated on for the last 5 years or so, and spend 2-3 hours a night doing. The name: “Home on the Range” caught my eye and referred me to your present site. The first thought was; guns and cooking; not too far off was I. I (ex Marine) own a few guns which I have not shot in 3-4 years and I do not cook. However, your site continued to hold my interest; and as I read more posts I was hooked. I have lived in small towns the last 20 years of my life. I would not live in a big town again - period.

    I digressed. You and your readers (most sound like friends) have a special bond that I have not seen with most of the sites I am use to visiting. In addition your special style of writing is extraordinary; which also come through from the comment of your readers. I personally would put my name with one of your readers who said - If you write a book, I want to be one of the first owners. You are in the class of Poet Laureates of the back roads and small town of America. I look foreword to your next post. You can tell a lot about a person by the books they read - Blind Man’s Bluff is one of my favorites.

  9. Rob - it's not likely as cold as where you are. I'm at the crash pad, playing Maytag Repairman today as I couldn't get to where they had work for me.

    LL - it was reminiscent of the taste of King's Ranch chicken casserole, very good.

    Dann - It's super easy as well, but don't use really fresh enchilads, as they may fall apart when maneuvering as the filling is dense and there's a lot of sauce. Whole wheat ones would work well as they're a little sturdier.

    Richard Hensley - thank you so much, and welcome to the Range. Yes, there are really special readers here. A few are friends away from the blogosphere that I know profesionnally or socially or through the local shooting community, and others have become friends through here, over time. It's a very unique and wonderful bunch of folks. Thanks as well, for your kind words on my writing. I have no training, it's just something I started to do 5 years ago, and enjoy more and more. There will be a book, but not til I am closer to retirement (I'm close to 20 years service).

    Blind Man's Bluff isn't just a favorite, my beloved Big Bro lived that story, and though not named in there directly, was part of that.

  10. Richard Hensley,welcome to Brigid's gang of readers."Poet Laureate of the Back Roads",that's an appropriate title indeed.

  11. Have you ever thought of putting together a Range Cookbook? I'd buy a copy.

  12. Nosmo King - No, not enough hours in the day as it is. But thanks.


  13. Gee, smothered Enchiladas are the only kind I make. My mother used to use the left over turkey, and I use chicken, with a green sauce. You have inspired me to try the ground beef variety now.


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