Monday, June 2, 2008

Mexican Enchilada Bake

Mexican food always brings great memories to me. Being American, international cuisines have always appealed to me because we have no defining, quintessential food that describes us. Sure there are hamburgers, hot dogs, and macaroni and cheese; but what fool would dare eat those when there are so many wonderful dishes that were inspired by Latin, Asian, African, Indian, and Middle Eastern cooking.

America is in fact a "melting pot" of culture, cuisine, and language. Unfortunately, it mostly gets lost in the greed of people pursuing high-paying jobs and fancy houses. But one thing holds true to me...that's the flavors of other countries that I try to assemble in my humble "galley-style" kitchen.

I have tried and failed, in the past, to make an Enchilada Casserole. But now I have discovered a great recipe which I know will conquer any Cinco De Mayo north of Tijuana.

I found this recipe on and it's absolutely amazing.

Enchilada Bake:

12 oz. vegetarian burger crumbles (try Morningstar or Boca brand)
1 packet taco seasoning (make sure it contains no milk products)
2 15.5-oz. cans enchilada sauce
18 corn tortillas
2 15.5-oz. cans pinto beans, drained
2 green onions, chopped
2 cups vegan cheddar cheese, shredded
1 4.5-oz. can diced green chilies
2 cups Fritos corn chips, finely crushed

• Preheat the oven to 375°F.
• In a small bowl, combine the burger crumbles and taco seasoning and set aside.
• Spray a 9-inch by 13-inch pan with oil.
• In layers, spread a generous amount of enchilada sauce, 6 corn tortillas, 2 cans of pinto beans, a handful of green onion, a third of the shredded “cheese,” half the can of green chilies, lots more enchilada sauce, 6 more tortillas, all the seasoned burger crumbles, another third of the “cheese,” the remaining green chilies, more enchilada sauce, then the final 6 tortillas, more enchilada sauce, and the rest of the “cheese.” Cover in foil and bake for 30 minutes.
• Remove the foil, top the entire casserole with the Fritos, and bake for another 15 to 30 minutes or until bubbly and browned.

This recipe serves 6 large portions or 12 small entrees if served with side dishes such as rice or chips and guacamole. Since I live alone I ate this for lunch and dinner for 3 days straight, and I never got sick of it!! It's that good.

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