Our Favorite Lightened Up Beef Enchiladas with 10 Minute Enchilada Sauce.

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

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?

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.

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.


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Lightened Up Beef Enchiladas with 10 Minute Enchilada Sauce

Yield: serves 4

Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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]

I’m about to eat this for breakfast.