Tag Archives: Mexican Food

Veggie Packed Enchiladas

Just the other day I was counting how long I’ve been vegetarian, and it’s been 10 months! Sometimes it seems like it’s been much longer than that, and other times I’m so impressed with myself for still going strong. When I first made the switch to being a full-on vegetarian (I hadn’t been eating meat often for a year or two prior, but still had it once in awhile), people would often ask “why” and I never really had a good reason. While I still don’t enjoy people asking me “why,” as though I need to validate my choices, I’ve come to realize that it is definitely more of an ethical thing for me than not – I just hate the idea of seeing animals suffer or be hurt. I realize it’s the “circle of life” and how things go, but I’m not going to participate in something if I’m not comfortable with it! And don’t get me wrong, hamburgers are delicious so I understand and have no problem with you eating one, I just won’t eat one myself.

So why the blabbering about my vegetarian lifestyle choices? Well, I’ve found that there are so many dishes that seem to have meat in them “just because.” There are plenty of dishes where meat is the centerpiece and main focus, but there are also a lot of dishes that seem to include meat more as an accessory. I love the versatility of Southwestern food, because even though it can be very meat-centric, there is also plenty of wiggle room for vegetables (and beans)! I love Southwestern food for the flavors, too, but it’s great that it is something I can continue to enjoy as a vegetarian.

So with a hankering for enchiladas, I took a look at the CSA box ingredients I had for the week, and put together a pretty tasty, meat (and fake meat) free enchilada! I suppose you could say I cut corners by not using homemade tortillas or enchilada sauce, but the time and effort required for those two things in addition to the rest of the cooking just isn’t realistic for your average working, marathon training, zonked from the heat wave person. If you have the time, by all means, go for it… but if you don’t, I promise your dish will be just as tasty!

Sweet Potato, Kale, and Black Bean Enchiladas | FoodosaurusRex.com

Sweet Potato, Kale, and Black Bean Enchiladas
– Serves 4 –

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp oil
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 scallions, diced
1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup corn
1/2 bunch of kale, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp cumin
1 tsp Adobo
1/4 tsp paprika
2 Tbsp water
1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used Mexican blend)
6 fajita size flour tortillas
1 10 oz. can enchilada sauce

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the onions and sauté for 2-3 minutes, or until the begin to become translucent. 
3. Add the cubed sweet potatoes, and sauté for another 3-5 minutes, until they begin to soften. 
4. Add the black beans and corn, followed by all of the spices (chili powder, cumin, adobo, and paprika). 
5. Begin to add the kale, a little bit at a time to allow it to wilt a bit and make room in the pan. As it’s wilting, add the 2 tablespoons of water to help deglaze the pan of the spices and aid in the wilting. Sauté until everything is combined and kale is slightly wilted, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from the heat. 
6. Pour 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of an 8 x 11 dish. 
7. Take a tortilla and add three spoonfuls of the mixture to the center of the tortilla, and roll. You don’t need to roll it like a burrito (but you can); just roll it more like a taquito – it’s okay if some of the “guts” are coming out of the sides. Place it in the dish. Repeat for the remaining 5 tortillas, layering them next to each other, slightly overlapping. 
8. Top with the remaining sauce, the shredded cheese, and the scallions. 
9. Bake for 18 minutes. Serve with avocado or guacamole, and sour cream or Greek yogurt. 

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Filed under Food Blogging, Home Cooking, Recipe, Spanish Food, Vegetarian/Vegan

Tex-Mex Obsession

I hope that everyone in the Mid-Atlantic enjoyed the gorgeous weather we had all week! I am lucky enough to have the flexibility to work from home a few times a week so I made sure to take advantage of it; especially on Tuesday when it was 80 degrees! Unfortunately the weather isn’t sticking around, but I’m okay with it – I don’t think I’m ready for summer temperatures just yet. So even though I’ve been grilling and enjoying beers outside, I’m still doing a fair amount of indoor cooking… I’ll resort to grill-only foods come July, I’m sure.

The majority of recipes you’ll find on the blog are Tex-Mex, so it never comes as a surprise to someone when I proclaim “I love Tex-Mex food!” More specifically I love Mexican food, and Tex-Mex is a byproduct of living in the USA. Thankfully I don’t live too far from New Brunswick, where 49.93% of the population is Hispanic or Latino (2010 Census results) and as a result has a lot of really delicious and authentic Mexican restaurants (my favorite is Costa Chica on Handy St., for the locals!). So when I was thinking about more ways to incorporate some of my favorite flavors into a dish, I immediately thought of macaroni and cheese.

KickAss5k-001

After my run!

After completing Abby’s Kick Ass 5k, I got to work in the kitchen. But before we get into the recipe, I have to give a little plug for Abby. Even though the 5k is over, you can still head to her Team Challenge page and donate. Long story short, Abby is an incredibly strong woman who has ulcerative colitis and is running a half marathon in June with Team Challenge (in conjunction with the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation) to help raise money for the foundation. As a fellow IBD sufferer, of course I had to donate to the cause, and I hope you’ll consider it, too!

The recipe uses veggie sausage, but you can either leave it out completely or use real sausage, ground beef, or ground turkey. And the recipe can be turned vegan if you use non-dairy cream cheese, shredded cheese, and milk. Since I’m slightly sensitive to dairy, this definitely isn’t a meal I would eat often… but it’s fun to indulge every once in awhile (though suffering the consequences isn’t fun)!

Tex-Mex Pasta Bake | Foodosaurusrex.com

Tex-Mex Pasta Bake
– Serves 4 –

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 lb. pasta (I used rotini, but small shells, elbow, etc. will work)
4 oz. veggie sausage or ground beef substitute (or ground turkey or beef if you aren’t vegetarian)
1 medium red pepper, diced
1 medium red onion, diced
1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp chipotle taco seasoning
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp adobo
4 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheese blend
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a skillet over medium-high heat, warm the vegetable oil and add the diced onion and pepper. Saute for 2-3 minutes.
3. Meanwhile bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Then set aside.
4. Add your meat of choice to the skillet and cook for an additional 5 minutes, until it begins to brown.
5. Add black beans followed by spices, and allow to cook 2-3 minutes. Add in cooked pasta.
6. Once well combined, add in the cream cheese, shredded cheese blend, and milk, stirring to combine until all the cheese is melted. Stir in the Panko bread crumbs.
7. Spray an 8×8 baking dish with cooking spray and spread the pasta mixture evenly. Feel free to sprinkle a little extra shredded cheese on top for good measure.
8. Bake for 15 minutes until top begins to brown.

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Filed under Recipe, Vegetarian/Vegan

Cinco de Yum

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

A tradition I’ve had since visiting Disney for the first time at age 5… in the Mexico pavilion!

It’s no secret that I’m in love with Mexican food and drink. I tell the story all the time, but once in high school someone asked me if I was Mexican because I ate a lot of Mexican food. Well the “eating lots of Mexican food” has only increased as I’ve become the meal planner of the house, and I can never get enough!

Looking through my arsenal of recipes that I’ve blogged about, it’s clear that I’m in love with Mexican and Southwestern flavors. I decided to pare it down a bit to share with you some of my favorites, in case you’re looking for some last minute ideas!:

Veggieful Enchiladas
Grilled Cheesy Burritos
Southwestern Lasagna
Roasted Zucchini, Corn, and Onion Tacos
Veggie Loaded Nachos 

Margarita IN Mexico!

Now go enjoy a margarita – you deserve it!

Do you love Mexican food as much as me? How are you celebrating? 

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Mexican flavors in Epcot

It’s no secret that I love Mexican food, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that every time I go to Disney World, I have to eat dinner in Epcot’s Mexico. This has been a tradition my family has followed since the very first time we went to Disney World when I was 5. Whenever I go to make reservations for our trip, the Mexico reservation is the very first one I make. A few years ago they opened a second Mexican restaurant, so I decided this year was finally the year to try it.

La Hacienda de San Angel is located right on the World Showcase lagoon, and is a perfect spot to watch their nightly fireworks, Illuminations. I didn’t think of it when I made the reservations, but seeing the sun set over the water was a nice consolation prize. We started our meal with tortilla chips and salsa (a spicy chipotle sauce and a green tomatillo sauce) as we perused the menu. Since we were on the Dining Plan, we were able to select an entreé and dessert. They have a tequila bar on-site, so naturally my husband and I started off with a margarita. I had the avocado margarita (super creamy and flavorful), and he had the blueberry pomegranate (nice and refreshing). My sister settled for an iced tea since she’s only 19.

When it came to making our dinner selection, we were all stumped. Everything sounded delicious, and we wanted to try everything. Eventually my husband and sister settled on the Puerco en Salsa de Mole Negro, which is roasted pork tenderloin with mole negro sauce, served with esquites (roasted corn), sweet potato mash, beans and vegetables. For myself, I went with the Arrachera, which is top sirloin served with spring onions, tamal with rajas, cactus leaves, and beans. Our table also had two big bowls of rice and beans, as well as some corn tortillas to make our own little tacos. The flavors of everything tasted truly authentic, and my favorite may have been the black beans and tamal that came with mine.

So much food!

You may be thinking to yourself, “Danielle, you said no meat in January! You’re a cheater!.” Why yes, yes I am. I knew going into the Disney trip finding vegetarian options at every turn would be difficult – and it was. There wasn’t one vegetarian option on La Hacienda’s menu, and while I know I could have gone out of my way to request something, because I’m not truly a vegetarian, I ordered off the menu. Disney does have plenty of veggie friendly options and I took advantage of them whenever possible, but I didn’t limit myself – I mean, it was vacation after all. I’ve found the main reason why I haven’t become a full-time vegetarian is the sometimes hassle of eating out, or eating at a friend’s – I especially don’t like to make a fuss when someone else is preparing a meal for me. That may seem like a cop-out, but it’s how I approach the situation. I’m planning to go an extra week into February to make it a truly vegetarian month.

But I digress – back to La Hacienda. We can’t forget about dessert! I decided to go with an apple empanada with caramel ice cream even though I was stuffed and couldn’t bare the thought of eating more. My sister had the same, and my husband ordered a fresh fruit tamale. Even though I only had a few bites, it was delicious and reminded me of an apple turn-over. The ice cream was the star, though, with ribbons of caramel throughout the rich ice cream. Yum.

The atmosphere is warm and inviting, and they certainly don’t rush you. At every restaurant we had a reservation for we arrived a few minutes early, and they were always ready to seat us. It was such a nice change of pace from restaurants around here where despite a reservation, you still wind up waiting. I’m definitely glad we decided to take a bit of a risk and book our traditional Mexico dinner at their new restaurant – it was a delicious change of pace.

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Filed under Food Review, Restaurant, Spanish Food, Travel

Breakfast for dinner: Huevos Rancheros

I finally got around to making the huevos rancheros I had planned for last week, on Monday. It was yet another edition of breakfast for dinner. We still had a bunch of corn tortillas left from when I made fish tacos, so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to try and finally use them up. For whatever reason, ShopRite doesn’t sell ripe, or almost ripe avocados (at least at the one near me). So, if you want a ripe avocado you need to buy it at least 2 weeks in advance. Unfortunately this meant no avocado on our huevos rancheros, but at least I’ll be able to use them in two weeks… So frustrating!

This is a quick and easy dinner, but can definitely be made any time of the day. I don’t really know much about “traditional” huevos rancheros, so I kind of just did my own thing, based on the flavors I tend to enjoy most in burritos, tacos, etc. I really like the idea of being able to customize the meal depending on what you’ve got in your pantry, and how you feel that day. These would be great for brunch, with a whole bunch of toppings laid out like a finxin’s bar so everyone can pick and choose. I should have a brunch party soon!

Huevos Rancheros
– Makes 4 –

Ingredients:
4 small corn tortillas
4 eggs
1/2 cup shredded blended cheese
1/4 cup chunky salsa
1 Tbsp cooking oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
1 chipotle in adobo, diced
1 serrano chile, sliced

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Meanwhile,  preheat oil in skillet. Add onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Add green pepper, serrano, and chipotle chile, cooking for an additional 5-10 minutes. Set aside.
3. Once oven is heated, place tortillas directly on the highest oven rack; warm for 3 minutes.
4. Using the same greased skillet, cook each egg over-easy, leaving on either side just until it begins to crisp.
5. Remove tortillas from oven, and spread salsa evenly between four tortillas. As each egg is cooked, add to each tortilla, top with onion and pepper mixture, and finish off with a sprinkle of cheese.
6. Once all tortillas have been topped, put back in the oven for 5 minutes.

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Mexican Stuffed Peppers

This past weekend was filled with homework and Christmas decorating. Since I’ve managed to hurt myself again (hello shin splints), I haven’t run since last Sunday’s Turkey Trot. This sideline is only partially welcomed because it’s the end of the semester so I have a few projects that I’m trying to finish up. Other than that, though, I’ve been eager to get back out and run since I just got a new pair of running tights, compression socks, AND a rolling stick! I’m hoping at some point later this week I can get back out there, since the Disney Half Marathon is only a month away.

As I mentioned, Saturday was full of homework and Christmas decorations. Since we go grocery shopping on Sundays, food was scarce, and it left me hungry. Thankfully I was able to make up for it on Sunday.

We started the day at our favorite breakfast spot, Le Peep, where I ordered my typical breakfast burrito. This thing is massive, as it’s stuffed with beans, cheese, salsa, onions, peppers, eggs, and your choice of meat (I went no-meat). It’s then topped with more cheese and chili (no chili for me!) and served along side their famous “peasant potatoes” which are unbelievably delicious home fries. We then headed over to the grocery store to stock up for the week, and I got back to my homework. The fiancé took some time to do a little window shopping for where we want to go on our honeymoon, and we have no idea. All we know is that we want to go somewhere warm and tropical-like, and we don’t have the intention of doing much aside from laying around pool/beachside and eating delicious food. So, if anyone has any suggestions I would gladly welcome them! But keep in mind, we’re getting married in September, and that unfortunately is hurricane season for most of the Caribbean.

For dinner, I decided to make Mexican Stuffed Peppers. Growing up we had stuffed peppers with ground beef, rice, tomato sauce, and sauteed onions frequently. Since I’ve tried to commit myself to really not eating meat, I opted for a vegetarian friendly version, with a Mexican twist, of course. I was inspired by Abby’s Don’t Unstuff These Peppers and decided to make my own! And let me tell you – they were delicious. The perfect amount of spice (for me), the semi-crunch of the cooked green peppers, and everything else I love about Mexican and Southwestern styled food (onions, black beans, corn, etc.). They’re also surprisingly filling. I had it with my usual side salad and was pleasantly satisfied. I wound up making four, so the fiancé and I had ourselves a pretty sweet lunch lined up for Monday, too!

Mexican Stuffed Peppers
– Serves 4 –

Ingredients:
4 medium sized green peppers
1 small yellow onion
1 cup white rice
3/4 can of black beans (of a 14 oz can)
1 4.5 oz can of sweet corn
1/2 cup chunky salsa
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp Adobo
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp cumin

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Cook rice according to package instructions.
3. Wash green peppers, leaving them a little damp (the moisture will help them get soft when they bake)
4. Dice onion and sauté in a heated pan with the 2 Tbsp of oil until translucent (about 5 minutes). Add spices and sauté for an additional 3-5 minutes
5. Add black beans and corn to onion mixture, followed by rice once it’s completely cooked, and cook for about 5 minutes
6. While the mixture is cooking, slice the tops of the green peppers, and remove the seeds and core
7. Once the bean, corn, and rice mixture is warm all over, mix in salsa, making sure to coat everything
8. Using a spoon, transfer the mixture into each pepper filling to the top
9. Place the peppers in a sprayed casserole dish, and bake for 25-30 minutes until peppers are soft and filling is heated through

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Filed under Home Cooking, Recipe, Running, Vegetarian/Vegan

Open Faced Tacos

In a perfect world, there would be more hours in the day available for me to do the things I enjoy: run, cook, read, SLEEP!, etc. However, as we all know this world is far from perfect, and most of my day consists of driving in New Jersey traffic to and from work, sitting in a cube for 9 hours, and then trying to create a delicious meal as quickly as possible to leave enough time to do homework, getting in a workout, and somehow having a little time to relax and plan a wedding. Boy oh boy, life is going to be so fun when I throw kids into the mix!

But I digress… Monday night’s dinner was a nice twist on our regular burrito, with a little less work. I actually had a little more time available, because it’s been rainy and I finally got back to running over the weekend. I was able to complete a mile on Saturday before stopping because the uncomfortable feeling in my ankle/heels started to become a little more painful. Then on Sunday I tackled two miles, and immediately came home and threw my entire foot in a bowl of ice water. I probably could have done another mile, but I didn’t want to push it and I also felt terribly out of shape. I struggled to keep myself going slowly enough not to make things worse, but by the end of that second mile, I was glad I stuck to a 9:30 minute mile pace. Tuesday’s 3 miler was back to an 8:40ish pace, but it definitely hurt afterwards. I’m slated to run a 5k October 9th so I’m hoping I’ll be up to 3.1 miles somewhat comfortably. As of right now, I’m not sure if I’ll pull out of the race or not. We’ll see what the next week and a half has in store.

Dinner was pretty straight forward – some taco sized tortilla shells, refried beans, cheese, ground beef with taco seasoning, and salsa. From there you can really make it your own, depending on toppings (of course you can swap the ground beef for soy crumbles, or nothing at all). I decided to dice up and sauté a few pieces of yellow onion, and a habanero pepper to add some heat. I mixed it into the ground beef that had been cooked with some taco seasoning, chili powder, and adobo. Other than that, I just had to slather the taco shells with refried beans (Old El Paso has a fat-free spicy version – yum!), throw the toppings on the shells, and bake. I suppose this open faced taco is similar to a tostada, however I didn’t use actual tostada shells. My parents have them, though, and they’re awesome.

They were definitely like mini Mexican pizzas, which I was more than okay with. Combine Mexican food and pizza? I’m sold. Next time, though, I’ll probably switch up the toppings and do something a little out of the box. But I encourage you to give these a try!

Open Faced Tacos
– Serves 2-

Ingredients:
1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 yellow onion – diced
1 hot pepper – diced (jalapeno, habanero, etc.)
taco seasoning and other spices to taste
4 taco sized torilla shells
1/2 can refried beans
1 cup shredded cheese blend (“taco” or “Mexican” will work)
1/4 cup salsa
(sour cream, guacamole, and other fixin’s are optional – and delicious!)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
2. Grease baking sheet(s) and place torilla shells on them
3. In a skillet, brown ground beef with onion, pepper, and seasoning until completely cooked
4. While skillet mixture is cooking, spread the refried beans evenly on the taco shells
5. Drain the meat, and evenly distribute on top of taco shells, finishing it off with an even coating of cheese
6. Bake for 10 minutes, or until taco shells have a slight brown crisp
7. Top with salsa and enjoy!

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Cheesy South of the Border Skillet

I love cheese. I love “South of the border” aka Mexican food. Put the two together, and I’m ready to devour.

I actually found this recipe on one of the may foodie blogs I subscribe to in my Google Reader, Make Life Delicious. The ingredients themselves were enough to make me immediately forward the post to my fiancé for confirmation of a dinner option. Cheese (both Mexican blend AND cream cheese), pasta, salsa, cumin? What more could a girl want?! Despite having more than enough carbohydrates in the past three days, I was definitely game for more pasta tonight. I mean heck, I burned over 3,000 calories yesterday running my half marathon!

I had actually planned to make a Potato Tortilla from this month’s Food Network Magazine. But I quickly realized I had forgotten white onion at the store on Saturday, and didn’t have enough eggs either. So, I’ll have to make that either tomorrow or Thursday. I somehow managed to not have all of the ingredients for this recipe either, but I was able to improvise successfully.

The recipe itself is straight forward – if you want to use chicken, cook the chicken. Also cook some pasta (any medium size will do – I went with rigatoni). Throw in the other ingredients to the skillet, once the pasta is done throw that in too, cook for a few more minutes, and tada! Ooey gooey Mexican cheesy goodness! The consistency was similar to the Everyday Food Pasta w. bacon and peas recipe I’ve made a few times.

As I mentioned, I LOVE CHEESE. And a lot of it. This recipe definitely has that. So, if you aren’t as serious a cheese fan as myself, I’d stick to maybe half of the cream cheese the recipe calls for. And, of course, if you’re going the veggie route, you can definitely substitute the chicken for tofu or maybe just more south of the border friendly vegetables (onions, peppers, black beans, corn, etc.)

You can also really dictate the spice level based on the salsa you choose, and if you add any other seasoning. I went with a medium-hot chunky style (so corn, black beans, onions) salsa, and added some chili powder when I was cooking the chicken. Also, the recipe called for corn. Whoops. I didn’t have any. I had some left over red onion, though, so I diced that up and added it in. Not an exact trade-off, but good enough.

Both my fiancé and I devoured our bowls, and were really impressed with the cheese and “south of the border” taste levels. I would absolutely make this recipe again. It was super quick and easy, and really filling! In my quest to be a little more vegetarian instead of halfaterian, maybe I’ll try this recipe in the future with a meat substitute.

For now, though, I’m going to go devour some more of the giant cupcake we have sitting on top of our refrigerator. So many goodies in this house! And this weekend’s dessert themed birthday party is only going to make it worse!

So here’s the recipe, and happy nomzing!

South of the Border Chicken & Pasta Skillet

Ingredients:
2 cup medium sized pasta (uncooked)
2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 lb.) cut into bite-size pieces
6 oz. salsa
2 cups frozen (thawed) corn
4 oz. (half of a package) of Philadelphia cream cheese
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1 cup Mexican style cheese

Directions:
1. Cook pasta as directed on package.
2. Meanwhile, cook and stir chicken in large nonstick skillet sprayed with cooking spray on medium-high heat 6 min, or until done.
3. Add salsa, corn, cream cheese and cumin; simmer on medium-low heat 6 min. or until corn is heated through and cream cheese is melted, stirring occasionally.
4. Drain pasta; add to skillet with half the shredded cheese. Simmer 3 min. or until heated through.
5. Top with remaining shredded cheese; cover.
6. Remove from heat; let stand 5 min. or until cheese is melted.

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Eggplant Enchiladas – A Labor of Love

Why is it that almost all types of delicious food are labor intensive? Specifically, all the types of food I like to eat? Furthermore, it seems that anything remotely healthy is somewhat cumbersome to make as well. To be fair, I would have enjoyed my enchilada making experience if it were on say a Sunday afternoon. However, on a Monday night after a long day of work, spending two hours was less than fun. But I stuck with it, and was rewarded with some seriously delicious enchiladas!

When making the recipe, prepare yourself for A LOT of veggie cutting. I had no problem with that until of course the onion, which makes me cry uncontrollably to the point where I can’t open my eyes. Writing about it now is making me tear up. Aside from that, the rest of the recipe doesn’t call for too much work. It’s a lot of sautéing and waiting.

I found the recipe on Serious Eats, who always impresses with their daily recipes. I’ve found they often post Spanish and Mexican dishes, which I absolutely love – like the Chilaquiles Frittata I made (also a lot of little steps).

Once I got past all the slicing and dicing, and waiting for the veggies to cook, I was able to fly through the rest of the recipe. I added a 1/4 of a teaspoon more cayenne pepper to give it a kick, and boy did it have a kick! It was just the right amount of spice for me, before it reached the unpleasant threshold. For a lot of people, though, I think it would have been too spicy.

I also left out the almonds. So, instead of eggplant and almond enchiladas, they were just eggplant. I didn’t miss them, though. There were so many other flavors (green pepper, onion, cumin, garlic, tomato, etc.) that I’m not sure what the almonds would have added.

The recipe says it’ll make 12 enchiladas, but I only got 10 out of it, and they weren’t even fully stuffed! I went with the fajita size tortillas, but I’m not sure if there are smaller, and if so, if I should have used them (the recipe didn’t specify).

This is a great alternative to a meat-filled enchilada. Eggplant is a pretty meaty and filling vegetable, and definitely adds some serious flavor to the meal. I can only surmise it’s pretty healthy too; a whole bunch of veggies and spices, just a bit of cheese, and some tortillas. A great way to get your Mexican fix in lighter and less fattening way, at home!

I’d definitely make this dish again, just not on a week-night. It’s better served on a Saturday or Sunday. Maybe even a Friday night. But not sitting down to dinner until 9pm on a Monday night was a little stressful.

So next time you’re looking to make a meat-free Mexican meal and you have some time, why not give this a try? You’ll be glad you did!

Eggplant Enchiladas
-Serves 4-

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups onion, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
3 cups tomatoes, chopped
6 cups eggplant, diced (about 1 large one)
salt and black pepper
8 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and minced
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1 cup jack cheese, grated
12 corn tortillas
Canola oil for frying

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Pour half of the olive oil into a large saucepan set over medium heat. Add half of the onions and a pinch of salt and cook for 5 minutes, until translucent. Add the cumin, chili powder, and cayenne. Stir well, and cook for 5 minutes.
2. Dump in the tomatoes and 1 cup of water. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 30 minutes. Halfway through cooking add half the garlic, and black pepper to taste. Puree the sauce when done in a blender when it has cooled slightly. Be careful.
3. While the sauce is cooking, pour the rest of the olive oil into a large skillet or pot over medium heat. Add the rest of the onion and cook for 5 minutes, until translucent. Add the eggplant and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The eggplant should be soft.
4. Add the garlic and green bell pepper. Stir well, remove the cover, and cook for 5 to 8 minutes. Turn off the heat, and then add the cheese and almonds. Stir well.
5. Pour enough canola oil into a skillet to cover the bottom. Turn heat to medium high. Fry each tortilla for just a few seconds on each side. You want to cook them until they become leathery, not until they crisp up. honestly no more than 3 seconds a side. Transfer each to a paper towels, and remove as much oil as possible. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
6. Place about 1/4 cup of the filling into each tortilla, and then roll up. Place them seam-side down in a baking sheet. Pour the sauce over. Place in the oven and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until warm. Serve.

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