In keeping with my objective to eat more and different vegetables, I have been wanting to introduce beets to my kids. I believed that if I served them by themselves it wouldn’t go over very well, so I–surprise–decided to introduce the beets in an enchilada casserole that I now call Blood Red Enchiladas. Here is a picture of all the ingredients that I used, less the garlic that I decided to add. Of course I add garlic to most of my dishes, but I forgot to get it out before I snapped the picture. Here is a list of the ingredients:
Enchilada Sauce – I used red, but you could also use green.
Pepper Jack Cheese
Nopales – Prickly Pear Cactus
Yellow Bell Pepper
Chicken – I like dark meat, but white meat is ok.
While I’m getting the vegetables cut up, I place the chicken in a pan and cover it to cook the meat. Then I refrigerate it for a bit before I dice it up. Sometimes, if I’m not feeling as cheap, I buy the boneless thighs so I can skip the pulling it off of the bones step. You could also buy boneless breasts.
While the meat is cooking, I prepare the vegetables. I slice and dice each vegetable so that each piece is small enough not to attract attention from my kids. Watch the slide show below for each vegetable.
After the vegetables are ready, I pull the meat out of the pan and empty most of the extra meat juice. Some of the juice from the fat of the chicken can be left in the pan to help the vegetables steam, and it also adds taste to the dish. While the vegetables are steaming, dice the meat and grate or slice the cheese. You can also try to get the kids to start setting the table. (Good luck.)
After the vegetables have steamed for about 15 minutes, put some in a small storage container to be used in other breakfast and lunch recipes, then add the meat to the remaining mixture and let that simmer for another 15 minutes.
Start building the enchilada casserole. I say casserole because this is not a true enchilada. With a true enchilada, each tortilla is rolled with some mixture inside it. I do this in layers–first a layer of tortillas dipped in sauce, then a layer of the vegetables and meat mixture, followed by a layer of cheeses of your choice, and topped off with some enchilada sauce. I repeat the process, topping it off with another layer of sauced up tortillas and cheese. Then I place it in the oven at 425 for 25 minutes.
Pull it out of the oven.
Cut up and serve.
Add topping to your desired taste. I add salsa and sour cream. See the picture at the top of this entry. Other toppings that are nice include hot sauces, guacamole, chopped lettuce, and olives.
Analysis: This dish was a new one for me and I thought it turned out OK. My kids ate it and that was the first indicator that it was passable. They did say that it wasn’t my best and that it had too much “stuff.” I do think that the next time I will leave out the nopales. They ought to have been one of the main ingredients and not just one of the supplemental ones. In the end, the beets worked; great color and great taste.
Make some variation and let me know how it turns out for you.