Protein-Loaded Enchiladas

In the week before we moved, I was looking to use up as many things from our pantry as possible. Tomato paste was one of them (hello, homemade enchilada sauce), and we happened to have black beans, corn and tortillas also on hand so this recipe just came together as a way to use everything up!

For those of us stuck in a dinner rut, here's some ideas to get you thinking. Really, that is what I need from my Instagram feed/blog reading feed. I need people to say "hey, I know I didn't invent the idea of an enchilada or burrito, but here's what I'm making for dinner." Because I can't be the only person who makes the same 7 dinners on repeat, right?!

More favorite recipes: Easy breakfast casserole | Breakfast tacos | Summer black bean & corn dip 

(Also while we're on the subject of dinner, can we talk about summer dinners? It's hot out, it's the perfect time for cold foods....but besides pasta salad and chicken salad, what am I supposed to be making?? If you've got a favorite summer dinner, post it in the comments!)

This dinner was fairly easy to throw together (honestly, making enchilada sauce took longer than cooking things in a pan and rolling it into tortillas!), and the best part is that you can add in whatever you have on hand. I've listed what I used (below) and at the end of the post I've included some other ingredient ideas.

What I used:

  • 5 large tortillas, 7-8 medium tortillas would have worked better!
  • 1 can of corn
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 can refried beans
  • half an onion, chopped
  • 1-2 bell peppers, any color, chopped
  • half a pound of ground beef 
  • 1 cup of cheddar cheese
  • enchilada sauce, homemade with this recipe or store bought
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 13x9 pyrex dish

What to do: 

  1. Ahead of time, prep the enchilada sauce (or get some already made from the store! No judgment here.) I ended up having tomato paste we needed to finish using, so I made this recipe
  2. Brown your ground beef in a skillet. 
  3. Add in the 1 can of corn, 1 can of black beans, and1-2 chopped bell peppers and half a chopped onion, and stir. 
  4. Season with the 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. 
  5. Allow this to simmer for about 5 minutes, until the peppers and onions are tender. You can't over-simmer, in my humble opinion. (This is when I run around setting the table, piling dishes into the dishwasher, etc.)
  6. Next, spread refried beans on the inside of a tortilla, as thick or thin as you want. 
  7. Add in the sauteed beef + beans mixture. 
  8. Sprinkle some cheese on top. 
  9. Spread about 1-2 tablespoons of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of your pan. 
  10. Roll the whole tortilla shut, allowing each side to be open, and place it seam-side down in the pan with enchilada sauce at the bottom. 
  11. Repeat this until you run out of ingredients! By the end, some of my enchiladas were more refried beans and cheese than bean/meat filling, but who cares?! You may end up with extra filling left over, which is the perfect start to a taco salad. 
  12. Pour enchilada sauce over the top, sprinkle extra cheese on top, and bake for about 15-20 minutes, until the cheese on top is melted. 
Other variations: 
  • Sour cream (in the enchilada or on top!)
  • Chopped chicken, instead of beef
  • Pinto beans
  • cilantro, inside AND on top!
  • Chopped tomatoes

What are your favorite dinners to make? What are some fun summer dinners you've had recently? 

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