Layered Enchilada Bake

Another recipe that I tried in my quest to feed 4 hungry guys without completely blowing my grocery budget, or disturbing them by veering too far from familiar tastes and ingredients. This recipe from Kraft fit those criteria, so I was happy to try it. But I will be honest. I did not use all the Kraft-recommended brands. I used generics mostly. Hopefully the Kraft police won’t find me.

1 lb. ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups salsa (I used more because we love salsa. I also added a can of mexican-style stewed tomatoes)
1 can black beans rinsed and drained (I used 2 cans; see above “feeding hungry guys”)
1/4 cup zesty Italian dressing (I actually did have this & used it. Amazing.)
2 Tbsp. taco seasoning mix (I used 3 because we like our food spicy)
6 flour tortillas (I have no idea what size I used; whatever size was in my fridge)
1 cup sour cream (how can any recipe be bad that includes a cup of sour cream)
1 pkg. (8 oz.) Mexican-Style shredded cheese (I used cheddar)

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Brown meat with onions in large skillet on medium-high heat; drain. Add salsa, beans, dressing and seasoning mix; mix well. (And tomatoes if using)

Arrange 3 of the tortillas in single layer on bottom of 13×9-inch baking dish; cover with layers of half each of the meat mixture, sour cream and cheese. Repeat all layers. Cover with foil.

Bake, covered, 30 min. Remove foil. Bake an additional 10 min. or until casserole is heated through and cheese is melted. Let stand 5 min. before cutting to serve.

This was a HUGE hit with the guys. I like it too, but they loved it. I even managed to snag a little of it for my lunch the next day and it was really good reheated too. Yes, I did pull it out before I ever let them near the dish; I’d learned I had to guarantee myself some leftovers.

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Chipped Beef.

I am almost ashamed to admit how much I love creamy chipped beef. I grew up eating the Stouffers version – just pull out of the freezer, nuke for a few minutes and enjoy over toast.

Then I got older and learned about things like preservatives and hydrogenated fats and excessive amounts of sodium. And I started to try to avoid eating foods that had a string of ingredients that I can’t pronounce. Not that I’m completely successful, but I’m trying. So anyway, Stouffers had to go.

But how can I survive without my comfort food of creamed chipped beef? That’s right, by finally figuring out that it’s not that hard so I’ll just have to learn to cook it myself.

And so I have.

I’m almost embarrassed now at how easy it is. And I feel so accomplished. I can make a roux and a white sauce! Yay me!

No amounts are given because it all depends on how many people you’re serving. It’s easy to make for one or two or whatever you need. Ok, I’m guessing it’s still easy to make for more than two, but two’s all I’ve ever served with this.

So, to begin. You’ll need butter, flour, milk, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Tabasco too if you’re feeling brave. And some dried beef (Budding type). And some toast of course when you’re ready to eat.

Melt butter in a saucepan deep enough to hold the finished product. Add an equal amount of flour (i.e. 1 tablespoon of butter? use 1 tablespoon of flour). Whisk together and let cook until the roux gets ever so slightly beigy. That’s a real word you know. In my world anyway.

Whisk in the milk, slowly incorporating it so as to integrate the flour and milk.

Add seasonings to taste.

Meanwhile, chop the beef into small bite-sized pieces. When the sauce is thick and luscious-looking, add the beef. Adjust seasonings as needed and serve over toast. Eat and enjoy. Feel oh-so-comforted.

chipped beef