It would probably be an excellent idea for me to eat these right now.

 Lightened Up Beef Enchiladas with 10 Minute Enchilada Sauce I

Or not.

But it would be an excellent idea for you to eat them, of course.

The past three days were an extension of birthday bonanza fun and consisted of eating all the foods. Really. ALL the foods. I don’t even know if I can name a food that I didn’t consume this weekend. Besides stuff like broccoli of course.

But I did have kale! That counts. Don’t ask me how much cheese was involved.

I also ate a lot of sage and it is green and looks like a vegetable so I’m adding it there as well.

The consensus is that today should be this or a salad.

P.S. hey cilantro haters: how much do you want to punch me right now?

 Lightened Up Beef Enchiladas with 10 Minute Enchilada Sauce I

As longtime enchilada fans (enchis were the first thing I ever made for my husband way back in the day), it took us a good while to venture from chicken to beef. We just adored the chicken version so much that when it came to Mexican food night in our house, we reserved the ground beef for more traditional tacos in the hard yellow shells. Or salads. Throw some seasoned ground beef on a salad with lots of cheese and salsa and guac and tortilla chips and I will eat more salad than anyone ever to live. Just try me.

And don’t even ask: of course it is still a salad. I just like a little lettuce with my salad. Don’t we all?

I’m not sure if I can fully convey just how often we eat enchiladas in this house. I mean, I’m sure it comes as anything but a surprise given that more than half of my recipes are really just a trashed up hybrid of some classic tex-mex dish, like nachos or tacos or whatever.

But let me be clear in saying that enchiladas are what started the whole obsession almost ten years ago. They are the instigator. I love them for it.

So practically every week, we switch off between chicken, turkey, pork or beef enchiladas. The whole shebang. Each recipe is slightly similar but honestly – I never measure a thing when making these. Add as much meat you want, add as many vegetables as you want. I won’t judge you. Okay, well I might, but I certainly won’t if you grate a whole brick of cheese on top. That’s just normal.

 Lightened Up Beef Enchiladas with 10 Minute Enchilada Sauce I

Depending on our mood and the other things we are eating that week, we alternate between regular flour, corn and whole wheat tortillas. A few years ago after posting my BBQ chicken enchiladas, I started making my own enchilada sauce after so many of you suggested it. It’s super and quick and easy and delicious… and we definitely prefer it over a canned version. However, if I’m short on time, we’re starving or I have about 83 pots and pans on my stovetop (like, always), I will grab a good old can. I’m not above it. Finally, like most other things in life, the toppings MAKE these little stuffed tortillas. I like to load it up, he keeps it simple.

If you’re in a serious enchilada mood, let me tickle your fancy: we have some butternut squash enchiladas, Thai chicken enchiladas, buffalo chicken enchiladas and these small-batch veggie enchiladas.

Now if that doesn’t explain my infatuation… not sure what will.

 Lightened Up Beef Enchiladas with 10 Minute Enchilada Sauce I


Lightened Up Beef Enchiladas with 10 Minute Enchilada Sauce

Yield: serves 4

Total Time: 1 hour


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles
1 pound lean ground beef
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
6 ounces white cheddar cheese, freshly grated
10 whole wheat tortillas

for serving: green onions, cilantro, sour cream, avocado

enchilada sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
15 ounces tomato sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.

Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add in the olive oil along with the peppers, onions and garlic. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the green chiles then add the beef. Break the beef apart with a spoon and add the cumin, paprika, chili powder, salt and pepper. Cook until the beef is browned, stirring well. Turn off heat.

Add 1/3 cup of the enchilada sauce and 2 ounces of the cheese to the skillet. Add another 1/3 cup of the sauce to the bottom of the baking dish and spread it out with a spoon. Add the beef filling to the center of each tortilla and rolls them tightly, placing them next to each other in the dish. When finished, cover the tortillas with the remaining sauce and cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, until the cheese is golden and melted on top.

enchilada sauce
Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add the olive oil. Whisk in the flour and cook until it is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk together, bringing the mixture to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 more minutes before using.

[sauce adapted from emeril]

 Lightened Up Beef Enchiladas with 10 Minute Enchilada Sauce I

I’m about to eat this for breakfast.

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97 Responses to “Our Favorite Lightened Up Beef Enchiladas with 10 Minute Enchilada Sauce.”

  1. #
    Belinda @themoonblushbaker — November 11, 2013 @ 8:29 am

    I would eat this for breakfast too.I hope your birthday bash was heaps of fun and really who cares about veggies when you have cake? You have 350 other days of the year to catch up on veggie eating.


  2. #
    Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat — November 11, 2013 @ 8:37 am

    Oh my gosh, that last photo is gorgeous! We used to eat enchiladas a lot when I was little, but I haven’t had Mexican food in quite a while and you’ve inspired me to somehow work it into my menu this week. I’m particularly intrigued by your Thai chicken enchiladas… heading over to pin them now!


  3. #
    Kayley Maybe — November 11, 2013 @ 8:39 am

    I was just thinking it had been a while since I made enchiladas…this is going on the menu for this week!


  4. #
    Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers — November 11, 2013 @ 8:42 am

    Ohhhh Girl, this looks fabulous! I love homemade enchilada sauce myself! It’s so much better than the stuff at the store! This is a great recipe!!


  5. #
    Aggie — November 11, 2013 @ 8:47 am

    I can eat enchilada a million times a week. My husband would kiss me if I put beef in them ;)

    Hope you enjoyed your birthday!! xo


  6. #
    Brian @ A Thought For Food — November 11, 2013 @ 9:01 am

    I have a list of dishes I’m dying to make and enchiladas is totally on there. This looks great!


  7. #
    Tieghan — November 11, 2013 @ 9:03 am

    Give me! These look awesome, Jessica! Who does not love enchiladas! They are awesome!


  8. #
    Laura (Blogging Over Thyme) — November 11, 2013 @ 9:45 am

    They look so good!! I can’t imagine my life without cilantro, I know so many people hate it, but it is such a necessary topping for me. Sounds like you had a great birthday weekend! :)


  9. #
    Jenna — November 11, 2013 @ 10:15 am

    I want these for breakfast! This is my all time favorite meal! Love your homemade sauce!


  10. #
    Ashley — November 11, 2013 @ 10:16 am

    We looove enchiladas as well! Homemade enchi sauce is the way to go. Fab photos!


  11. #
    11 — November 11, 2013 @ 10:18 am

    This looks SO DARN GOOD!!! Gosh, I cannot WAIT for your cookbook!!! Your recipes are my faves! (But you knew that already.) I made your short rib tacos (AGAIN) last week. Kiddo cheered when I told him what was for dinner. ;)


  12. #
    Kristen @ notsodomesticated — November 11, 2013 @ 10:26 am

    I pinned this one! My husband LOVES Mexican food, so I need to give this a try!


  13. #
    Mallory @ Because I Like Chocolate — November 11, 2013 @ 10:28 am

    I could just devour that avocado right now and I have not even had breakfast yet!


  14. #
    Annie @ Annie's City Kitchen — November 11, 2013 @ 10:59 am

    These are sorta perfect because I’ve been making a Mexican feast every Sunday and I’ve already made Tortas, Tacos, and Quesadillas so onto Enchlladas!

    Also, those avocados and nearly perfect. I don’t know how you even did that.


  15. #
    Hilary — November 11, 2013 @ 11:17 am

    These look amazing! Do the leftovers keep well? Do you freeze them? Thank you for this wonderful recipe!


    • Jessica — November 12th, 2013 @ 8:02 pm

      i haven’t ever froze mine, but i think that they probably would freeze well.


  16. #
    Mackenzie — November 11, 2013 @ 11:44 am

    Oh my word these look delicious. Hubba hubba


  17. #
    Cate @ Chez CateyLou — November 11, 2013 @ 11:45 am

    These look delicious, and I love that they are lightened up! That picture of the sauce bubbling away is great!


  18. #
    Laurie {Simply Scratch} — November 11, 2013 @ 11:58 am

    Oh my enchilada heaven. Amazing!


  19. #
    cheyenne — November 11, 2013 @ 12:07 pm

    this looks delicious. i just ate, and now i want enchiladas!
    xo, cheyenne


  20. #
    steph @ pretty little thingss — November 11, 2013 @ 12:23 pm

    mmmm these look delish! especially with the fresh avocado slices on top!! xo


  21. #
    Averie @ Averie Cooks — November 11, 2013 @ 12:33 pm

    The styling is just gorgeous on these! Those perfect avo wedges, the sour cream, the sauce and the colors – I don’t even eat beef and I want one of these :)


  22. #
    Molly @ Yes to Yolks — November 11, 2013 @ 1:10 pm

    These looks incredible – that last photo is gorgeous! I haven’t made my own enchilada sauce yet, but you’ve definitely inspired me to try! :)


  23. #
    Shelley T. — November 11, 2013 @ 1:16 pm

    I’d totally eat these for breakfast. They look awesome!


  24. #
    Tracy — November 11, 2013 @ 1:41 pm

    You should try these enchiladas! I made them last week and they were delicious! I added some onion and olives to the inside of them. So good!


  25. #
    Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie — November 11, 2013 @ 3:21 pm

    I cannot remember the last time I made “regular enchiladas that didn’t have some weird twist to it. I think it’s time to get back to the good ol’ basics. Glad to hear your weekend was full of food!


  26. #
    Brie @ Entrée the Giant — November 11, 2013 @ 4:06 pm

    It would be an excellent idea for ANYONE to eat these right now. I’m going to have to whip these up asap.

    Thanks for contributing to my list of cravings.


  27. #
    Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs — November 11, 2013 @ 5:00 pm

    You know, I’ve never made enchiladas! I think it’s about time to change that! :)


  28. #
    Stephanie @cookinfanatic — November 11, 2013 @ 5:55 pm

    i adore enchis too and all the fun variations you can do with them! these look deeeeeeeeelicious, per usual :) bring.on.the.cilantro.


  29. #
    Nicole ~ Cooking for Keeps — November 11, 2013 @ 8:31 pm

    LOVING all the cilantro, I do not understand cilantro haters one bit. Don’t they say it tastes like soap?? Nope, don’t get it. These are fabulous.


  30. #
    Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic — November 11, 2013 @ 9:20 pm

    I agree that brick of cheese on top is mandatory! This looks sooooo good. And if it’s “lightened up” that means I can have two. Or four?


  31. #
    Rebecca — November 11, 2013 @ 9:54 pm

    You would just love my avocado enchilada recipe – with beer enchilada sauce. So much yum! Of course, I’ll take just about any kind of enchiladas…just hold the cilantro.


  32. #
    Jenn | A Learning Wife — November 11, 2013 @ 10:45 pm

    That looks so super delicious. My husband and I love Mexican food! Definitely gotta try this recipe soon! The pic w/the avocado on top = yum!


  33. #
    Maria — November 11, 2013 @ 11:03 pm

    that looks amazing!! I am definitely going to be making these!


  34. #
    ATasteOfMadness — November 12, 2013 @ 1:43 am

    I am always in the mood to eat enchiladas. These look perfect!


  35. #
    Bean — November 12, 2013 @ 10:38 am

    Yum! These look great. Do you know if they freeze well before baking? I’m looking for a freezer friendly dish for a new mom.


    • Jessica — November 12th, 2013 @ 8:01 pm

      i have never froze enchiladas before, but i would imagine they would!


  36. #
    Tracy | Peanut Butter And Onion — November 12, 2013 @ 10:47 am

    I love birthday weeks, it gives you reasoning to eat whatever!


  37. #
    Beth @ bethcakes — November 12, 2013 @ 1:26 pm

    I’m always down to eat enchiladas whenever and where ever. They’re my favorite things! My dad saw this post before I did and was like, “Hey. We should make these.” And I said, “Yes. Done.” Also, really really love your photos! So gorgeous.


  38. #
    Jenny — November 12, 2013 @ 1:39 pm

    These were awesome – huge hit at this house! Considering I’ve lived in Texas most of my life, and have made all kinds of food, surprisingly, I’ve never made enchiladas. These came together so easily, and the sauce was wonderful.
    One question – in the directions for the filling, you mention adding the chopped onions, peppers and garlic to the pan, but you don’t list garlic in the recipe ingredients. I winged it with two cloves, chopped, but wondered if you used more or less than that.
    Definitely will make these again, and going to check out the other enchilada recipes. Yum!


    • Jessica — November 12th, 2013 @ 8:01 pm

      oops sorry! it is 2. fixed it, thanks!


  39. #
    Mercedes — November 12, 2013 @ 3:14 pm

    I just made enchiladas last night for dinner too! I love making my own sauce, it makes such a difference! I have marked these and your BBQ chicken version to make!


  40. #
    Sommer@ASpicyPerspective — November 12, 2013 @ 8:43 pm

    Jessica, these look ridiculously delicious, and just the kind of thing I wish I had for dinner. Maybe tomorrow night!


  41. #
    Pretend Chef — November 12, 2013 @ 11:14 pm

    I haven’t made enchiladas in over a year. Sigh. Now i need to give these a try and make homemade sauce. These look so delicious.


  42. #
    Ross @ TheFaceBaby — November 13, 2013 @ 2:50 am

    Allllllll the foods!

    These look hauntingly (prob not the word I’m looking for, but let’s roll with it) like Cassie’s. Y’all should make enchiladas together. Just be sure to save some for me.


  43. #
    Rocco Colosi — November 13, 2013 @ 6:09 am

    Looks really tantalzing. Would love to have a big bite at it.


  44. #
    Jourdan — November 13, 2013 @ 1:42 pm

    Just wanted you to know that we had these last night for our weekly dinner with friends and they were a HUGE hit. I’ve never found an enchilada recipe I really loved, and now the search is over. Thanks a bunch!!


  45. #
    Larry — November 13, 2013 @ 1:58 pm

    I just got an AMAZING IDEA! Breakfast enchiladas! Not like, enchiladas for breakfast, but BREAKFASTFREAKINENCHILADAS! You should make it happen!


  46. #
    heather — November 13, 2013 @ 4:14 pm

    Are you freaking kidding me? I’m all over this! And that drippy sauce photo is to. die. for.


  47. #
    Arthur in the Garden! — November 13, 2013 @ 5:21 pm

    Love the picture of the tomato sauce poping!


  48. #
    Kate R — November 14, 2013 @ 2:19 pm

    YUM. I can’t wait to try the homemade enchilada sauce. I’m a green chile kind of gal, so I usually do a green chile sauce when I make enchiladas, but the hubs loves the classic red sauce so he usually gets the canned form.

    One question – can you tell me more about the plate pictured? I’m a bit of a china/dinnerware nut and these look lovely!


  49. #
    MaryRuth@ARealLifeMom — November 15, 2013 @ 2:04 am

    Made this for dinner tonight, and it’s a winner! Love the homemade sauce.


  50. #
    liz | carpe season — November 15, 2013 @ 4:51 pm

    Making these tonight – the sauce smells great!

    Wondering if you’ve ever made up a batch of these ahead of time and frozen before baking. When I’ve done this w/ other enchiladas, I keep the sauce (that gets poured on top) separate until ready to bake – thoughts on freezing these ahead????



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