Monday, April 1, 2013

Easter Enchiladas

Enchiladas are a traditional Easter dish, right? I'd say so. But, we'll get to that in a minute!

On Easter morning, my parents, Brian and I went out to brunch at Tabard Inn. We've been going there for Easter brunch with some combination of family members for several years now.

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It was delicious, but of course I forgot to take pictures. Thank you to all of my dining companions for not reminding me! Sometimes I just get SO excited to eat things like fresh-made doughnuts or a vegetable frittata.

After brunch, my parents had to head back to Rochester and Brian and I parked ourselves on the couch and stayed there all day eating candy. It's true. I didn't run, I didn't go to the market. I can't remember the last time I was SO lazy. It happens and I'm not sorry! We will just have to eat from the Easter basket my parents brought us.

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My favorite Stever's Candies, maple syrup and BJ's trail mix. This trail mix is super decadent in comparison to my usual version of unsalted peanuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and raisins. I loved it in high school (and still do!) so it's always nice when my parents bring it by.

Most importantly:

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Dinosaur Bar-B-Que sauce. It is the ONLY barbecue sauce that we will use. I've really tried other kinds, but they don't taste good and they have scary ingredient lists. Dinosaur is an upstate NY biker joint. Clearly my kind of thing. What, your Easter bunny doesn't bring barbecue sauce?

We spent the day working our way through some goodies, while watching DVR-ed movies and basketball. Every so often DirecTV offers premium movie channels free for a weekend- you know I love a bargain- so we DVR about 20 movies when this happens. Today we got in Almost Famous and The Tombstone. Then we had Easter Dinner.

Leftovers
Leftover enchiladas for me and quesadillas with leftover chicken. Still good on day two!

I promised the recipe and here it is!

Enchilada Casserole

Serves 6 (generous helpings!)

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 pound ground chicken (or beef or turkey or bison)
  • 2 tablespoons fajita seasoning (or taco seasoning)
  • 1/2 cup frozen peppers and onions
  • 1 cup frozen chopped spinach
  • 1 batch enchilada sauce (or two cans store-bought)
  • 1 batch homemade whole wheat tortillas (or one package store-bought)
  • 1/2 batch refried beans (or one can store-bought)
  • 8 oz cheese (I used monterey jack)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. In a large saute pan, heat up the olive oil and add garlic- cook for about a minute on medium heat
  3. Add ground chicken to pan and fajita seasoning; cook chicken through
  4. Add frozen vegetables and 1/4 cup enchilada sauce; cook 4 minutes
  5. Grab a casserole dish and spread a little enchilada sauce in the bottom; add tortillas, tearing to fit evenly across the dish; spread on refried beans; add a layer of chicken; add cheese and repeat until dish is filled (see note below) 
  6. On top of the final layer of cheese, add more tortillas and remaining enchilada sauce
  7. Cover dish and bake; removing cover and adding all remaining cheese when you have about 10 minutes left in your cooking time (see note below)

Note: I used a 8 x 6 deep, oval casserole dish and a smaller crock (about 5 x 5) and baked the larger dish for about 45 minutes. I was able to fit three 'layers' in my deep casserole dish and two in the smaller one. If you're using a typical 9 x 13 size, I'd recommend two layers and baking for 30 minutes. For two layers divide the meat mixture and beans into two portions, and the cheese into three.

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I actually made everything the weekend before- the sauce, the tortillas, the beans and the chicken mixture- and froze it. It was so easy to throw together a made-from-scratch meal during halftime on Saturday. Make what you can, and purchase store-bought for what you can't.

I added the spinach to the meat because it bulked it up, added a vegetable and didn't really change the flavor all that much. I made the refried beans, but I actually didn't mash them up- simply because I was lazy. It worked! They were soft enough that it didn't make a difference. I love the homemade tortillas in this, because they are a little thicker and heartier than store-bought.

We used salsa, sour cream and guacamole for toppings and I am pleased to say the dish received some rave reviews. My dad had seconds even though he did mention that he could 'tell' that the tortillas were whole wheat!

Hope your weekend was just as nice! Did the Easter bunny bring anything special?
I actually received my first cell phone from the Easter bunny many years ago! He knows me well.

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