Switch-up enchiladas

It’s fun to try new recipes–and it’s fun to vary them. It’s the varying that inexperienced cooks are often afraid of. I know I used to be.

Back in my early days, I’d find something that looked really good, but if I didn’t have every single ingredient, I either put off making it,

enchiladas

Not mine. We ate them too fast and I never photographed them. But they looked much like this.

or dashed off to the store. That can get tiring, and it’s so unnecessary. One of the first things a new cook should learn is how to mix things up a bit.

Yesterday, for instance. I had some meat that needed to be used up, and I was in the mood for Mexican. So, I dug out one of my favorite Mexican recipe books.  I had bought some flour tortilla shells at the grocery store, but I discovered that was about all of the required ingredients I had on hand.

The recipe called for cream of chicken soup, sour cream, picante sauce, cooked chicken, and Monterey Jack cheese. I had none of those things. So, I used what I had, and the result was better than I remember that original recipe being.

Here’s the recipe, as I tweaked it:

1 can cream of mushroom soup
8 oz. plain Greek yogurt
1 cup black bean salsa (Mrs. Renfrew’s. I like it because it doesn’t have sugar in it.)
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 pound of ground chuck, browned
1 cup shredded garlic-and-herb cheddar
6 flour tortillas

1. Mix the soup, yogurt,  salsa and chili powder. Reserve 1 cup.
2. Brown the ground chuck, seasoned with homemade taco seasoning. (I make my own because I don’t like the unpronounceable ingredients in the packaged stuff. But go ahead and use it if you prefer.)
3. Mix 1 cup of the salsa mixture,  ground beef and cheese.
4. Spread about 1/3 cup of the meat mixture down the center of each tortilla. Roll up and place seam-side down in a 3-quart shallow baking dish.
5. Pour the remaining salsa mixture over the enchiladas. Cover and baked at 350° for 40 minutes.

It could be there’s a recipe just like that somewhere, but the point is, I didn’t know that. I substituted our of necessity. Back in my younger days, it would never have occurred to me to take such liberties; now I realize that’s what makes cooking fun. Most experienced cooks discovered that long ago. If you haven’t, try it!

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About Monica Sawyn

I'm a retired newspaper reporter/columnist, and although I still freelance, I miss the weekly column I used to write. I still "see columns" in everyday life and need a place to put them after they're written--thus, this blog. I'm Catholic, have been a Benedictine oblate since 1977, and live with my husband and our beagle in Sturgeon Bay, Wis. When I'm not writing, I'm probably reading, sewing, taking photos or walking the dog.
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One Response to Switch-up enchiladas

  1. blb1 says:

    Shoot my daughter often refers to my meals as science experiments. 🙂

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