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Easy Stacked Enchiladas. Dinner crisis averted.


Image ©2010 Christopher Halloran Photography

Last night was one of those times when I didn’t think about dinner until it was time to eat dinner. Luckily I nearly always have the stuff for stacked enchiladas on hand.

The original recipe.

This has all the makings of a near-perfect recipe – quick to assemble; only five main ingredients; healthy, lowfat, vegetarian (you could always add chicken I guess) and can be dressed up or down. But the best part?

Everyone likes it.

It’s based on a Triple-Decker Tortilla recipe featured in Better Homes & Gardens magazine in 1999. The BH&G recipe’s good, but since it always turned out a bit dry I started experimenting — ultimately substituting enchilada sauce for the salsa.

Hence why I call them Stacked Enchiladas.

But you can call them anything you want, as long as you try them:

Easy Stacked Enchiladas

Cooking spray
1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 t. each minced fresh garlic, chili powder and cumin
10-oz. can red or green enchilada sauce (No can? No worries — bonus recipe below.)
1 cup corn (I use frozen organic white corn, but any will do)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Four 6-inch whole wheat tortillas
Salt and pepper
Chopped fresh cilantro, avocado, tomatoes; light sour cream and salsa for garnish, if desired

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Lightly spray saucepan with cooking spray. Over medium heat, add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Add beans; stir in chili powder and cumin, and cook over medium heat for another 5 minutes or so (add about ¼ c. water, salsa or broth if beans seem dry). Remove from heat, mash slightly, season to taste with salt and pepper, and set aside.

Coat a 9-inch round cake pan with cooking spray. Pour a little enchilada sauce into bottom of the pan and tilt to coat. Layer in this order: 1 tortilla, half of the bean mixture, ¼ can enchilada sauce, another tortilla, the corn, ¼ can enchilada sauce, half the cheese, the third tortilla, the remaining beans, ¼ can enchilada sauce, the last tortilla, and the remaining enchilada sauce.

Cover with foil and bake 15 minutes in preheated oven. (You can also cover with vented plastic wrap and cook in the microwave on high for about 4 minutes.)

Uncover, sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake for 5 minutes more (or microwave on high 30 seconds more). Cut in wedges and garnish as desired. Makes 4-6 main-dish servings.


Ed. notes:

Eat your vegetables. If I’ve actually planned ahead, I’ll add chopped, sautéed onions and red (or green) bell pepper to the black beans. And ever since my friend Kim introduced me to her squash, onion and corn calabacitas, I make a double batch and include the leftovers in the corn layer. Once I even snuck in tofu. But please don’t tell my husband.

The tortilla lowdown. Whole wheat tortillas freeze surprisingly well. You can thaw them first, but I’ve used the frozen ones straight from the package with equally good results. White corn tortillas are also very good in this recipe — I use about eight, tearing the additional four as necessary to fit the pan.


BONUS: Easy Enchilada Sauce

1 T. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ c. onion, minced
1 tsp. dried Mexican oregano
1 T. chili powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste*
1 1/2 to 2 c. chicken or vegetable broth

Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the onion and sauté for five minutes. Add the oregano, chili powder, salt, pepper, cumin, and tomato paste. Gradually stir in 1 ½ c. broth using wire whisk. Bring to a boil and boil for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened. Makes about 2 cups. Refrigerate leftovers in sealed container.

*Once when I made this, I discovered I was out of tomato paste. I substituted ketchup. It wasn’t terrible, and in fact tasted very similar to Old El Paso brand (the sweetness of the ketchup, perhaps?). So if you’re ever in a bind…


3 Comments leave one →
  1. 11/15 9:53 AM

    Bookmarking this one in my “web recipes” file.
    And wow, Chris, EXCELLENT food photography!

    • Jennifer permalink*
      11/15 9:57 AM

      I guarantee you won’t regret it. (And I’m sure you’ll find a way to make it even better.) :-)

  2. Catherine Cook permalink
    11/15 10:23 AM


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