We love casserole dishes. They are easy to construct, don’t require tons of attention once they’re in the oven, plus if you rely on leftovers to make tomorrow’s lunch sweatless they provide enough food to give you a few days off from cooking.
We also love enchiladas of all kinds. What’s not to love about rolled tortillas, good salsa, cheese, and meat? There are a few steps that can make them a bit lighter and quicker. We love the idea of enchilada casserole because it makes the whole process easier, faster, and still damn good. Are these the enchiladas that my ‘Guela would make? Nope. Those are great, but these are really good too. When the cooking is done, we can throw the whole casserole dish in the refrigerator and sleep well knowing that lunch and dinner is taken care of for another day.
The dish starts out by sweating some onion and garlic on the stove top and then bringing in the rest of the filling. Canned black or pinto beans work great, and a rotisserie chicken makes the process even simpler. This filling is ultimately layered between strips of tortillas (no frying here!), and doused with the star of the show, the sauce. Really good enchiladas have really good sauce. The best enchiladas I’ve had I remember most for their sauce, which can be a simple red chile all the way to a complex mole. I have nightmares of that thin, unseasoned, tomato paste without the tomato taste: the “enchilada sauce” that plagues so many restaurants and supermarket aisles. Since this recipe is a weekday warrior and “simple” is the theme, we beef-up an already really good store-bought green salsa with milk and cilantro and throw it in the blender. For this purpose, we turn to Mrs. Renfro’s Salsa Verde, which we love. It can be hard to find a really good supermarket salsa, which is why we have jars of this stuff on hand at all times. It packs lots of spice, garlic, and lime, which all carries through to the final product.
Topped with a little cheese at the end, your dinner will be gooey and spicy. It’s also one of those dishes that tastes even better the next day. Enjoy!
Adapted from this Cooking Light Recipe.
1½ tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
1 large white onion, chopped
4 medium cloves of garlic, minced
½ tablespoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons ancho or guajillo powder
½ tablespoon cayenne pepper
2 15½ ounce cans of pinto or black beans, rinsed and drained
Meat from 1 rotisserie chicken
1 cup sliced green onions
8 thin corn tortillas
8 ounces lite shredded mozzarella
1 cup nonfat milk
16 ounce jar of green salsa
1 bunch fresh cilantro
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Heat oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat. Add chopped onions and cook until translucent and tender, about 4 minutes.
- Stir in spices and fresh garlic and mix for until aromatic, about 1 minute.
- Stir in chicken and cook to heat through, about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from heat.
- Lightly fold in beans and half of the green onions. Season mixture to taste with salt and pepper.
- In a blender, combine green salsa with nonfat milk and cilantro until the cilantro is well incorporated.
- Slice each of the tortillas into four strips. Use half of them to make a layer of tortillas on the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking dish as shown in the photos above.
- Top the tortillas with the chicken mixture followed by approximately 2/3rds of the shredded cheese.
- Top with the remaining tortilla strips and slowly pour the salsa/milk/cilantro mixture to evenly coat the casserole.
- Cover the casserole with foil and bake for 35 minutes.
- Remove the foil and top with remaining cheese and green onion.
- Bake for another 5-10 minutes until the cheese is melted.
- Let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.
Some notes on ingredients: We recommend the Mission Extra Thin tortillas. Trader Joe’s lite mozzarella melts perfectly and tastes great. Mrs. Renfro’s Jalapeño Green salsa is our favorite.