I started cooking for Aaron fairly early in our relationship; a habit he is very happy that I both started and have continued through the eight and a half years (!) we’ve been together. The first dish I made was lasagna, and he hated it. Then later, I made a pork tenderloin that was completely over-done, accompanied by what he still likes to tease me about to this day: pork jelly. I way over-thickened the gravy. It was spreadable (and disgusting!).
One day he had a craving for enchiladas and our favorite Mexican place was closed for the day, so I thought I’d try to whip something up. He was nervous, but agreed. I found a recipe online, made my list, went to the store, started cooking, and it turned out to be a success! This was the first meal not out of a box that I ever successfully made all by myself. I was 22. Since that day I’ve obviously found my groove in the kitchen and can whip up all manner of delicious dishes (if I do say so myself. Others agree.), but Aaron still requests this dish. We’ve made a few tweaks based on the enchiladas he ate at his Mexican neighbor’s house as a kid (and these tweaks are weird, but they work, I promise), but they still taste pretty much the same as that first time. I made these last week, and he was so excited he could hardly stand it. He had trouble stopping himself from eating the whole pan, but he did just so he could have leftovers for lunch the next day.
We usually serve these topped with sour cream, a little shredded lettuce, and chopped tomatoes. Sides typically include Spanish Rice (-a-roni) or corn bread. It’s not the healthiest meal ever, but it sure is delicious. It also doesn’t make a ton, but it definitely doubles well.
1 large can enchilada sauce
½ lb. ground beef
2 c. (8 oz.) shredded cheddar (or other cheese of your choice)
1 medium-sized potato, peeled and cut into small cubes (about ½ c. after chopped)
¼ c. green peas
8 corn tortillas
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. In a frying pan, brown beef. Drain off excess fat. Add ½ c. of the enchilada sauce and 1 c. of the cheese. Keep warm.
3. Steam or boil peas and potatoes. When potatoes are fork-tender, add this to the meat mixture and stir to combine.
4. Assemble: In a clean frying pan, heat 1 T. oil. One at a time, add a tortilla and fry about 10 seconds on each side, just until the tortilla is soft and flexible. Don’t overcook these – they’ll get hard and you won’t be able to roll the enchiladas. Remove the tortilla from the pan and spread about a teaspoon of the remaining sauce over the top of the tortilla. Top with 1/8th of the meat mixture (about 3 Tbsp.), roll, and place seam-side down in a slightly greased casserole dish (9x13 is too large, the next size down if what I use – I think 8x10?). Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling until all enchiladas are rolled. Pour remaining enchilada sauce over top of all enchiladas.
5. Cover and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil, top with remaining cheese, and bake for 2 – 5 minutes more, depending on how melted/browned you like your cheese. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes before serving, because they’ll be piping hot and it’s hard to resist digging in right away!