Monday, December 6, 2010

Meatless Monday: Quick Cheese Enchiladas

This week's Meatless Monday came about simply by trying to use items I had in the house as well as fulfilling a craving for Mexican.  While cleaning the pantry I found a can of chopped tomatoes, with onions, garlic & green pepper.  While I usually prep everything from scratch, this is a short cut that makes sense every so often and absolutely came in handy since I wanted a quick and easy lunch.  This little can of tomatoes would be the perfect base for a spicy Enchilada sauce, especially when paired with some of the various chili powders I have collected.

Living in LA and having tons of great Mexican at my fingertips I grew to love it.  Unfortunately good Mexican is few and far between in Toronto, especially because a burrito us generally my last choice when I have a craving.  It can be found, but not easily in my neighborhood.  As a result I am constantly looking to fill my cravings for it at home.  If I'm out of good corn tortillas and don't feel like driving downtown, I make my own.  It's time consuming, but oh so worth it.  Luckily for this dish I had the tortillas on hand, because making my own would take the quick out of the equation in this one.

After I made the pumpkin puree for my Thanksgiving pie, I tossed the pumpkin seeds with olive oil, sea salt and smoked paprika.  They are delicious and I knew the subtle heat and crunch would be perfect with the spicy savory enchiladas , so I sprinkled a couple tablespoons atop the enchiladas before baking.

Cheese Enchiladas
serves 3-4

12 soft corn tortillas
2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Chili sauce
2 Tbsps Toasted pumpkin seeds

1.  Lightly oil a 7" x 11" baking dish.  Preheat oven to 350F.  Heat a small non-stick skillet over medium heat. Place one tortilla in the heated skillet for 10-15 seconds, flip and heat for 10 more seconds, until the tortilla is warmed and pliable.  Remove tortilla from skillet,  place 2-3 Tbsps of cheese in the tortilla and roll it around the cheese.  Place seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat with the rest or the tortillas.
2.  Cover with 1 - 1 1/2 cups of chili sauce.  Sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese, should only be a couple Tbsps, and top with pumpkin seeds.
3.  Place in the oven and bake uncovered for 15 minutes.   Remove from oven and serve.  Great with a bit of sour cream and a crisp green salad.

Chili Sauce
makes 2 cups of sauce

1 15 oz can chopped tomatoes with garlic, onion and green pepper
grapeseed oil
1 tsp acho chili powder
1 tsp chipotle chili powder
1 tsp Mexican chili powder
1/2 tsp dried crushed jalapeno
coarse sea salt

1.  Heat a small saucepan with grape seed oil over medium heat.  Add in the can of tomatoes. Heat until begins to bubble.  Add in all spices, stir to combine.   Bring to a simmer and lower heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
2.  Remove from heat and puree with an immersion blender.  Taste and adjust salt.  Stores in a jar or air tight container for up to 2 weeks.

I'm always looking for quick recipes, especially for lunch.  I can easily go through the whole day without eating lunch, either because I'm baking or cleaning or working, which I know isn't great.  This sauce came together so easily and I had leftovers, since I was only cooking for 2.  The leftover sauce keeps amazingly in the fridge and was tasty in some scrambled eggs.

The crunch of the pumpkin seeds with the spicy sauce and savory cheese was a perfect combination.  The enchiladas can easily be tweaked to include leftover chicken or beef, making it a perfect 2nd day meal after your Sunday roast.


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