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Care for some enchiladas?

A hearty and homemade enchilada casserole is a good choice for dinner. (Cathie Campbell/For The Madera Tribune


Summer, winter, no matter what season it is, I always like enchiladas.

Sometimes I get very messy and roll them up and fit them into a baking pan, but once in a while I get a bit lazy and I make an enchilada casserole. So easy!

I also admit that I love some homemade Spanish rice and refried beans, also homemade. But most of the time I use canned refries and if possible, doctor them up with a bit of bacon grease (or lard) and shredded mild Cheddar or Colby Jack blend.

I have never stopped to measure when I make the rice and from-scratch beans. Well, other than for every cup of dry rice grains I use two cups of liquid.

I am not including recipes for rice and beans here, but there is a homemade tortilla recipe. My enchilada casserole also doesn’t have measurements but I will talk you through it as best I can. It is just something I “eyeball.” Cat’s enchilada casserole I sometimes cut the heat of the enchilada sauce by making a roux with either lard or vegetable shortening and flour, then adding the sauce along with some water, whisking till smooth. When my kids were little, I often added a can of condensed tomato soup. I know, sounds awful but it was good. Corn or flour tortillas, size doesn’t matter 1 large can mild enchilada sauce 2 tablespoons lard or shortening 2 tablespoons flour Water Ground beef Canned chopped olives 1 onion, chopped 2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced or crushed Small amount canola oil if meat is very lean Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste Mild Cheddar or Colby Jack cheese, shredded A few whole ripe olives, optional

  1. In a baking dish, 13-by-9-inches or your choice of size, spray with cooking spray and set aside.

  2. In large pot or pan, melt lard or shortening and whisk in flour, creating a roux. Slowly add enchilada sauce and enough water to give desired consistency. Sauce should be thick enough to coat a tortilla without dripping all the way off. Turn off heat and set aside.

  3. In saucepan, cook ground beef in a bit of oil (unless the meat has enough fat in it already), along with the chopped onion, chopped olives and crushed garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Preheat oven to 350.

  4. To assemble casserole: Pour some sauce in the bottom of the baking dish, swirling to cover the entire bottom. Lay a single layer of tortillas over the sauce. You may need to tear some of them to patch up any open spaces. Pour a little more sauce over the tortillas, then place the meat filling over the top of the tortillas. Sprinkle some cheese over the meat, then dip tortillas in sauce (in pot) and put them down in 2 layers over the cheese. Pour remaining sauce over all, another layer of cheese and if desired, garnish with a few whole olives.

  5. Bake, covered, in preheated oven until casserole is heated through, cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling. Note: Be sure to add enough sauce to the bottom of the baking dish before adding tortillas, because if it is too dry the torts will become tough.

Chicken enchiladas

1/2 cup cream cheese, softened 1/2 cup sour cream 1 1/2 cups your favorite salsa (except for fruit ones) 3 cups cooked chicken breast 2 cups shredded cheese 1/3 cup green onions, chopped 1 teaspoon chili powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped 10 flour tortillas

  1. Preheat oven to 375. Saving 1 cup of salsa and 1 cup of shredded cheese, mix all ingredients (except tortillas) in large bowl.

  2. Place about 1/3 cup of mixture on each tortilla and roll up. Place in well greased 9-by-13-inch baking dish seam side down.

  3. Pour remaining salsa evenly over top of enchiladas and sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese.

  4. Bake in preheated oven until enchiladas are heated through and cheese is melted, at least 15 minutes.

Green chile chicken enchilada stacks I prefer to saute the onions a bit first so they are tender. I don’t do the egg thing, but somebody reading this might like it.

5 or 6 corn tortillas 1 to 2 cups cooked chicken, chopped 1 generous cup of shredded cheese (Colby Jack is great) 1/2 cup diced onion 2 cups green chile enchilada sauce 2 eggs, optional

  1. For each serving: Dip one tortilla in the green chile sauce and place on a dinner plate. Top with some of the cheese, some chopped chicken and some chopped onion. Top with a little of the green chile sauce. Dip a second tortilla in the sauce and place it on top of the previous layer. Top with more cheese, chicken and onion. Dip a third tortilla in the sauce and place it on top. Add a little more sauce, then a bit more onions and top with cheese.

  2. Prepare the second serving the same way. To cook, place one plate in the microwave and cook on HIGH for 2 minutes.

  3. Optional: While the enchilada stacks are in the microwave, fry two eggs sunny side up or over easy. Place on top of each heated stack. Makes 2 servings.

Homemade tortillas In case you want to make your own flour tortillas for your enchiladas. 4 cups flour 1 teaspoon salt 2 teaspoons baking powder 2 tablespoons lard (recipe says not to substitute shortening or oil) 1 1/2 cups water

  1. In a large bowl, mix flour, salt and baking powder together until well blended.

  2. Using your fingers, mix in the lard until the mixture resembles cornmeal. Slowly add the water and mix until the dough holds together and you can form a ball.

  3. Place on a lightly floured surface and knead a few times until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. Divide the dough into 24 equal pieces and roll each into a ball.

  4. Preheat a large skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Use a well-floured rolling pin to roll out each dough ball into a thin tortilla. One at a time, cook the tortillas on the skillet or griddle until the tortillas bubble and start to turn golden brown with flecks. Turn each over and cook the same. Stack them on a platter and cover with a clean tea towel (or if you have one, use a tortilla warmer). Makes 24 (depending on size).

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