Thursday, February 11, 2016

Enchilada Stacks

-with chicken, black beans, spinach, and pepper jack cheese

Just call me "The Globetrotting Eater"!

I'm doing pretty good this month. An Asian recipe, a Greek recipe, a cupcake recipe (you gotta throw one of those in every now and then), and now a Mexican recipe. I'm spanning the world over here! 

Variety is good, yes? I think so. I know lots of people who eat the same foods, day after day, year after year, for their entire lives. Never getting outside the box. While it's true, I could and do eat certain foods everyday (hello turkey sandwiches!), I need diversity. There's something amazing and life-changing about discovering a new food that you've never tried before. It's almost like falling in love.
I remember the first time I had a hummus that I liked. The hubby had actually made it, and it was a revelation. It was creamy. Salty. Most importantly, it was delicious. I love that warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you find a new infatuation, and the way it makes you look at the world in a whole different way. As if a thousand new opportunities have opened up, and Earth is forever changed.

I guess you can tell I'm a serious foodie by the way food can change my life, ha ha.

There was a time that I hated enchiladas. I know, how can one hate enchiladas? It's like, sacrilegious or something. As it turned out, I didn't hate enchiladas. What I hated was the sweet red sauce that a lot of restaurants put on their enchiladas. Mom never made enchiladas at home, so I had only tasted them in restaurants. And I hated that sauce. Fast-forward to college and the discovery of the my favorite Mexican restaurant, El Torito, and I was eating enchiladas by the truckload. I loved their sauce which tasted nothing like any enchilada sauce I'd had before. Not even a trace of sweetness. Their sauce is what inspired me on this journey I have towards perfecting my own Mexican cuisine. I've gotten my red sauce to a place where I love, but there's always room to play and perfect.

Since these delicious little stacks are all about that sauce, let's get into how to make them!

I always serve salsa with enchiladas. After a pretty long kick of making my own salsa (seriously, it was about a year and half straight), I was craving new flavors. So, I've been testing out pretty much every brand of salsa that is sold in stores. Trust me, this is not work. But, of all the salsas I've tested, I haven't found a holy grail. Something that I would turn to when I was in a pinch and didn't have the ingredients or time to make my own. This means my easy homemade salsa is still my go-to. 

I made a fresh batch for my enchilada stacks, and it was oh-nom-nom. That's "yummy" for those of you who don't speak Jessica :-)

I used pepper jack cheese for these stacks, but really, these stacks are customizable and you could use any cheese you want. While these stacks were chicken, black bean, spinach, and pepper jack, just think of all the other combinations you could come up with!

refried beans --> cheddar cheese --> salsa --> sour cream (for the traditionalists)

grilled shrimp --> Spanish rice--> Monterrey Jack cheese --> guacamole

pulled pork --> roasted pasilla chiles --> mango salsa ---> cilantro

Ok, so that last combination has me drooling. Must. Try!

This Enchilada Stack was my dinner (as in only me, no hubby), so I used the smallest tortillas that I could find. Kroger recently started carrying organic tortillas, much to my absolute delight, so I had to try them. I bought some fajita-sized corn tortillas, and they were the perfect size.

I love that stores in my area are starting to carry more organic products.

Anyhoo, I wanted crispy tortillas, so I simply heated a pan over high heat. When it was hot, I put the tortillas in the pan for about 45 seconds on each side. This browned up the tortillas and lent the perfect amount of crispiness. 

I didn't even have to make sauce for these! I had some leftover from when I made myself enchiladas last month-

These were just Cheese Enchiladas that I covered in my Red Sauce. Jealous? :-)

To assemble- Spray a small casserole pan with cooking spray. Then spoon a good-sized amount of enchilada sauce into the pan. Place one tortilla on top of the sauce. I then layered with spinach, black beans, chicken, cheese, and a spoonful more sauce.

Sandwich with another tortilla. Repeat until you've used all the tortillas. On top of the last tortilla, spoon a generous amount of sauce (enough to drip down the sides of the stack) and sprinkle with cheese. Pop this in the oven for 10 minutes, and-

You have an Enchilada Stack! 

Top with your favorite toppings, and dig in! These are super-easy, especially if you have leftover sauce in the fridge. Plus, they look pretty and they are full of veggies and protein. Perfection, if you ask me.

That's it for me today folks. Stay tuned for the next world traveller recipe! Ok, so it might be a plain old American recipe, but it could be exotic... You just never know :-)

Happy Thursday everyone!

*Note after the fact: While I was proof-reading and editing this post, an online search revealed that El Torito, my favorite Mexican restaurant in the whole world, has closed. I'm feeling incredible sorrow that I will never again get to visit their establishment when I go home to Oregon. A very sad day indeed for this girl.*

Ingredients (makes 1 stack that serves 1-2):

4 fajita-size corn tortillas
1/4 cup cooked chicken, shredded
1/4 cup black beans
1/4 cup fresh spinach, roughly chopped
1/2 cup pepper jack cheese, shredded

toppings- fresh salsa, sour cream, diced avocado, chopped cilantro (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 425º. Coat a (9x9) casserole pan with cooking spray, set aside.
2. Crisp your tortillas- heat a large pan over high heat. When hot, place a tortilla in the pan. Cook for 45 seconds, then flip. Cook another 45 seconds, then remove from heat. Repeat with remaining tortillas. 
3. Assemble Stacks- spoon about 2-3 tbsp of sauce on bottom of casserole pan. Place a tortilla on top. On top of the tortilla, place a couple of tablespoons of each- chicken, black beans, and spinach. Top with cheese. Spoon a tablespoon of sauce on top of the cheese. Sandwich with a tortilla. Repeat layers with remaining tortillas. On top of the last tortilla, pour the rest of the sauce, and top with remaining cheese. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.
4. Carefully move stack to a plate, trying not to wrinkle the bottom tortilla. Top with desired toppings, and dig in!

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  1. Yum...going to dig through my pantry and fridge to see if I have everything I need to make these tonight!

    1. I hope you like them! Although, you could put almost anything in them and it would be hard to go wrong!

      Thanks for stopping by Debbie, have a great weekend! :-)

  2. These sound fabulous! I am clicking over to check out your Enchilada Sauce recipe! I am so in agreement with you about sweet enchilada sauces not being the way to go.
    Found you at the Weekend Potluck :)

    1. I have friends who like sweet enchilada sauce. I just find the savory recipes to be soooooo much better! I'm with you :)

      Thanks for stopping by, I hope you had a great weekend!


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