The recipe below is a modified version of a recipe that my mom used to make for our family quite a bit, especially in our school years. My mom was a great cook, but a very practical one. Combine six kids and two parents with different music, drama, sports, church, scout, and social calendars, and you had a need for easy to make, easy to serve dinners.
My mom made a wide range of food and I learned to cook at her side. There are a lot of times when she was busy working and we would start pestering her to make it something yummy. She taught as early that if we wanted to eat it we better learn to cook it, so of course, we are all experts at making cookies and brownies. I think that is where we all started in the kitchen.
She was never, that I choose to remember, too busy to teach us what she was doing. Whether she was making a big Sunday lunch, her “secret recipe” chocolate, or a Monday-night chicken dinner, she would always take time to explain what she was doing. Mom was never an exotic cock, preferring our homegrown vegetables to things you couldn't pronounce that wouldn’t be available in our local grocery store. I remember fresh baked bread with butter and honey, green salads with thick sliced beefsteak tomatoes, homemade 1000 Island dressing, whichever croutons were on sale, gallons of ice water, clean dishes, a fresh tablecloth every night, the smell of a chocolate cake baking in the background, and breakfast rolls every Saturday morning.
As my mom got older and the household got smaller, her attention turned to more Mexican dishes. I don't know why, she never liked really spicy foods as far as I can recall, but she started making her own tortillas and I remember buying her a tortilla press for one of her last Christmases. The recipe below is my version of what we always called "Mom's Enchiladas."
Her original version is a very Americanized dish, a simple combination of tortillas, hamburger meat and lots of cheese. I like mine a little spicier, so I've added some onions, a couple of chopped jalapenos, sharp cheddar cheese, and a spicy pepper jack. No one will confuse this with “real” Mexican cooking, but it’s easy to make, filling, great for leftovers, and makes me think about mom every time.
2 pounds hamburger, browned and drained
1 small onion, chopped
1 can enchilada sauce
1.5 pounds sharp cheddar cheese, grated
.5 pounds spicy jack cheese, grated
2-3 jalapenos (optional)
8-10 tortillas, medium
Preheat the oven to 350°
Brown and drain the hamburger and let it cool.
Get the 20% fat version, if the meat is too lean it doesn’t taste as good.
Chop and sauté the onion. The onion is optional, I like it, my kids don’t/
If you keep it separate from the meat, you make some with, and some without onions.
Chop up the jalapenos. Again, these are optional depending on your taste
Coat the bottom and sides of a 9 x 13 Pyrex baking dish with a small amount of enchilada sauce
Pour some of the enchilada sauce into a cold medium sized frying pan.
Coat both sides of a tortilla in enchilada sauce.
Fill the tortilla with meat, onions, jalapenos, cheese, and a little enchilada sauce.
You want to use most of the meat and cheese inside the enchiladas, but save some to sprinkle on top.
Place in the baking dish, Repeat until backing dish is full.
Pour remaining enchilada sauce over the top of the enchiladas.
Sprinkle excess cheese and meat jalapenos on top.
Put pan on cookie sheet to catch drippings
Bake for 30 minutes at 350°
If you are going to prepare the enchiladas in advance, leave the cheese and meat off the top, bake as usual, then add the extra cheese and meat when you are re-heating it.
This is also a good dish to prepare and freeze. Prepare everything but do not bake. Cover the dish with tinfoil and freeze. One hour before baking removed from the freezer.
Some others have joined in the fun, I’m getting hungry already
And a big thanks to Topaz for getting this all together.