Beef Enchiladas

Big Book of PotluckWith a three-hour trip to Wal-Mart in Montana looming in my future, I sat down to make a shopping list and a menu for the next two weeks. As I was searching for something that sounded good to make I came upon this recipe for Beef Enchiladas in The Big Book of Potluck: Good Food—And Lots of It, by Maryana Vollstedt. There were several good recipes in this book, but I started with this one. As I read through the ingredients I noticed that they recommended making your own enchilada sauce instead of using the canned variety. The ingredients were simple and ones I had on hand so, uncharacteristically, I decided to try it. The recipe includes olives and Tabasco, both of which I left out, but if you like spice and/or nasty olives, by all means include them, just don’t invite me over for dinner!

The night I decided to make this recipe, my children were feeling generous and asked if they could help. I have to say it is really easier to assemble this with an extra pair of hands. My daughter dipped the tortillas and I filled them. It became messy very quickly! The corn tortillas tend to fall apart easily, but that may be remedied if you soften them as the recipe recommends which I failed to do. As my daughter and I were on the assembly line we happened to lick our fingers and WOW the sauce was good! My daughter was amazed at how good it tasted! It really took no time at all to make and I’m slightly motivated to make a large batch and put it in bottles to use in the future.

The consensus was a resounding yes from every member of my family minus the vegan eight-year-old!



1 ½ pounds ground beef

1 cup chopped yellow onion

½ teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper

12 corn tortillas, softened (see Note)

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

4 cups (about 16 ounces) grated Cheddar cheese

¼ cup sour cream

1 cup pitted black olives (optional)


Green onions, including some tender green tops, sliced

Sour cream

Avocado chunks

To make meat filling: in a large skillet over medium heat, cook beef, onion, salt, and pepper to taste, breaking up meat with a spoon, until meat is no longer pink and onion is tender, 6 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. To assemble the enchiladas: Dip a tortilla in warm sauce to coat both sides and lay on a flat surface. Place 2 large spoonfuls of meat mixture in a strip down the center of the torilla. Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of cheese and 1 teaspoon sour cream on top of meat mixture. Roll up and place, seam-side down, in a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish lightly coated with cooking spray or oil. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Pour remaining sauce over all and sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Tuck in olives, if using, around the casserole. Bake, uncovered, until bubbly, about 35 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Put toppings in bowls and serve.

Serves 6 to 8

Note: To soften tortillas, wrap in a small cloth towel and microwave for 1 minute on high. Alternately, wrap in foil and warm in a 325-degree F oven for a few minutes. Keep tortillas warm, wrapped in the towel or foil, until ready to use.



1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 cup chopped yellow onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

¼ cup diced green bell pepper

1 tablespoon chili powder

¼ cup all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon dried oregano

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

¼ teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper

1 ½ cups beef broth

1 large can (15 ounces) tomato sauce

2 to 3 drops of Tabasco


In a large skillet over medium heat, warm oil and sauté onion, garlic, and bell pepper until tender, about 5 minutes. Add chili powder, flour, oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper to taste. Add broth and stir until thickened. Add tomato sauce and Tabasco. Reduce temperature to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes.



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