Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Enchilada Casserole

Enchilada Casserole, layered with crushed tortilla chips, cheddar cheese, and a sauce of ground beef, onion and garlic, cream soups, green chilies and enchilada sauce.

Enchilada Casserole

I would imagine there must be a thousand different ways to make this Tex-Mex style casserole that uses tortilla chips instead of corn or flour tortillas, and I've tried quite a few of the variations myself. This recipe was shared by one of our readers Cindy, who gave me permission to share it on our recipe sharing Facebook page. Cindy's version of this popular casserole was the best tasting of all that I have tried.

Tortilla chips are one of my snacking indulgences, so I always seem to have the tail end of bags of them in the house. You know the ones with the broken chips in the bottom of the bag that aren't quite large enough to use for dipping, but that you also just hate to throw away. This casserole is perfect for those. I usually have plain around so that's what I used, but a lot of folks like this with the flavored varieties of Doritos, especially the nacho cheese. If you've got some tortilla chips leftover yourself, this is certainly a great way to use them up.

As I have mentioned before, I generally recommend shredding your own cheese off of the block. Pre-shredded cheeses are convenient to buy and they are great for topping, garnishing, or adding as a finish, but for cooking, I prefer using block cheese and shredding it myself.


My Ninja, which I keep right on my kitchen counter, does a great job of shredding cheese in literally seconds, so I really don't have to haul out the big Kitchen Aid anymore, unless I'm shredding a large amount. The Ninja also isn't quite as annoying to clean either.

The reason I prefer block cheese in cooking is that the pre-shredded cheeses contains fillers, stabilizers and other non-cheese stuff such as starch, that help to keep the cheese from sticking together and clumping. Unfortunately those additives also remove moisture and dehydrate the cheese, affecting the creaminess in your dish as well as how smooth and evenly it melts when heated. If you've had a mac and cheese that didn't have the results you wanted and you used pre-shredded cheese, that's why.

I do keep a variety of block cheeses on hand and the best way to keep them fresh is with some kind of vacuum sealer. You'd be surprised how much better you can store certain foods with one, and there are a wide variety of them available today from the larger, but compact models, to the handheld versions, which because of space constrictions in my tiny, galley style kitchen, is what I use personally. It's one of my favorite gadgets!


To keep things easy, I picked up a can of mild enchilada sauce when I planned to make this, however, my homemade red sauce that I shared recently on the Pintos and Cheese Dip, would work here as well. The casserole has a nice light bite to it, though not overwhelming, but could certainly take even more heat for those of you who really love to spice things up.

By the way, the serving pictured above was cooled, sliced and reheated. As with most layered casseroles such as this, that's about the only way to get a nice, blog-worthy photograph, but if you're just planning to sit down and eat, you don't need to worry about perfect squares. Just portion it out and serve!

Cindy tells me that this recipe was shared with her family by a fellow church member many years ago. Aren't those always the best recipes? It sure is good and I hope you enjoy it as much as we have! Here's how to make it.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 x 13 inch baking dish; set aside. Melt the butter in a large skillet; add onion and cook until softened. Add ground beef and cook until browned; drain off any excess grease. Add garlic; cook and stir for 3 minutes.


Add the soups, undrained green chilies, enchilada sauce and milk. Mix well and heat until bubbly.


Your sauce is done! Taste and check for seasonings as needed.


Layer half of the crushed chips in the bottom of the prepared baking dish and spoon over half of the sauce (about 3 cups).


Add half of the cheese, then repeat the layers. Cover and bake at 350 for 40 minutes, remove, uncover and let casserole rest for 5 minutes.





Recipe: Enchilada Casserole

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 40 min | Yield: About 10 servings

Ingredients
  • 1/2 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 cup of chopped sweet or yellow onion
  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 1 (10 ounce) can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 (10 ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 (7 ounce) can chopped green chilies
  • 1 (10 ounce) can of enchilada sauce
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 8 cups of roughly crushed tortilla chips, flavored or unflavored
  • 3 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 x 13 inch baking dish; set aside. Melt the butter in a large skillet; add onion and cook until softened. Add ground beef and cook until browned; drain off any excess grease. Add garlic; cook and stir for 3 minutes. Add the soups, undrained green chilies, enchilada sauce and milk. Mix well and heat until bubbly. Taste and check for seasonings as needed

Layer half of the crushed chips in the bottom of the prepared baking dish, half of the sauce (about 3 cups) and half of the cheese; repeat layers. Cover and bake at 350 for 40 minutes, remove, uncover and let casserole rest for 5 minutes.

Cook's Notes: I used a total of 8 cups, mostly bottom of the bag plain tortilla chips I had saved up, roughly crushed. Unless you're using reduced sodium soups and chips you likely won't need any salt. Substitute cooked chicken if you prefer.

Source: http://deepsouthdish.com

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Posted by on February 5, 2014
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10 comments:

  1. I can attest that the sauce using cream of mushroom and cream of chicken soup with a can of enchilada sauce is a good one. I've used that combination for years and everyone loves it. Thanks for the new recipe with a variation on this classic combination.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really works well for this casserole doesn't it?!

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  2. Looks like an easy way to get these delicious flavors. I need to check into the mini Foodsaver.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Could you assemble this and freeze it? Or would the chips get soggy?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Melody! I haven't ever made it ahead, but I'm sure you could. The chips soften anyway, they don't stay crunchy.

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  4. Hey there, thanks for answering my question and then explaining in detail why you don't use pre-shredded cheese for entrees. Very helpful to know this!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hey Mary, question about the handheld foodsaver, is it just for refrigerated items or could I use it to freeze meats and veggies as well or would I need the more expensive foodsaver for that?

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    Replies
    1. Hey Carly! The handheld is intended primarily for refrigerated items so I don't think that they recommend it for freezer usage. You'd want the big boy version for the freezer. Now, that said, I've frozen bits & pieces before, like small leftover meats & such, but I'd get the larger version intended for the freezer if you were going to do large packages of meats and such.

      Delete

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