We’ve all been there. The 4pm “oh crap what am I going to make for dinner?!” thought. For me, that embarrassingly happens more nights than it doesn’t. Try as I might, I am not a great meal planner!
It’s because of this that I am always ready with the “break glass and pull fire alarm” key ingredients to a few last minute dinners.
A dinner I have on repeat is my easy beef enchilada recipe that I make up. Before you get too impressed with me on that, read the recipe. Then you’ll feel better about yourself because um, it’s not an impressive recipe! But it is delicious!
This is also a great make ahead dish, which is also perfect for last minute dinners. You can make this the night before or morning of a busy day and pop in the oven to melt cheese when it’s time for dinner!
The Key to Last Minute Dinners
For me, the key to last minute dinners is having both the right recipes and the right pantry ingredients. There are some recipes that are just so forgiving that you can easily riff on them – making ingredient substitutions or even leaving them out altogether.
The other key is always having the pantry staples ready – especially the staples for your go-to recipes.
This beef enchilada recipe is one I make at least a few times a month so I always have the ingredients ready. Most of the ingredients use store bought items that have a long shelf life.
Ingredients to Always Have
Here are a few ingredients you should always have in your pantry and freezer. Having this will make this recipe come together in the drop of a hat!
- Pre-made Salsa Verde. I always buy this one.
- Frozen onions (fresh is fine, but frozen is there for the last minute options!)
- Frozen ground beef
- Bag of mozzarella (fresh – or keep in the freezer to have ready!)
To keep consistent with the “running to the pantry” cooking with nothing fresh idea. Here are a few things to easily serve on the side with this easy enchilada dinner dish!
Salsa and Chips: This is nothing fancy, but it’s in keeping with the Mexican dish. Put out a bowl of salsa, some chips and let everyone dig in Catina style!
Brown Rice: pick up some of those 90 second steamer bags and you’ll have an easy and healthy side to compliment the enchilada.
You can use a glass baking dish in either square or rectangle. Just be sure to not use too big of a dish for how many you’re making. You want the enchiladas to fit snugly so they don’t open up but you don’t also want to squish them in so they don’t cook.
Here are a few gorgeous baking dishes that are oven safe if you want to put them in something that can be served to guests or brought to a friend’s house. This dish is also a great one to bring to a new Mommy. Just have them pop in the oven to melt the cheese!
The Pre-Made Green Enchilada Sauce
Enchilada sauce isn’t just one thing. You can use red enchilada sauce or one made with green chiles if you want. You can also make your own homemade enchilada sauce (sign up for my newsletter because I’ll be sharing my favorite one, soon!)
I choose to use a salsa verde sauce because this one is mild and a bit sweet. It has a great flavor. My boys are foodies so they love a lot of flavor. But my teenaged daughter is not a foodie, so this is basic enough that it makes her happy, too!
The green is also such a beautiful color that it adds a pretty pop of color to dinner!
To Corn or to Flour
All things aside, I positively love corn tortillas. They have such delicious flavor that for tacos, they can’t be beat. However, for enchiladas I prefer flour tortillas. There is a fair amount of sauce in enchilada and flour just holds up better.
Can you use corn tortillas? Sure. Do I recommend them? Not really. I think the enchilada stays together better against the sauce and the cheese!
Easy Enchilada Recipe
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Chopped Onion, fresh or frozen
- 1 teaspoon Cumic
- 1 Jar Salsa Verde
- 2 Pounds Ground Beef
- 1 Pack Flour Burrito Tortillas
- 1 Pack Mozzarella Shredded Cheese
- 5 tbsp Cilantro Optional
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Heat a large sautée pan with the Olive Oil over medium heat.
- Add in onions and cook until softened.
- Add ground beef and brown the ground beef along with onions until fully cooked through. Season ground beef with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add in cumin and stir.
- Drain ground beef and onion mixture.
- Put ground beef and onion mixture back in the same pan and add in half of the salsa verde jar. Mix well.
- Spray a square or rectangle glass baking dish (size dependent on how many you are making.) You can use any oven safe dish you wish.
- Spoon mixture into each tortilla, fold closed and place into baking dish, making dish fairly tightly compact but not squished.
- Drizzle remainder of salsa verde jar on top of all enchiladas.
- Top enchiladas with mozzarella
- Bake at 350 degrees until cheese has melted, roughly 10 minutes
- Change oven to High Broil, and broil for the final few minutes to slightly char the cheese in order to add a great depth of flavor.
- Optional: Top with fresh cilantro and serve!
This is a crowd pleasure of a dish. My identical twelve year old boys, who love flavor of all kids, love it! And my picky eater teenaged daughter also loves it (she’s hard to please!) Your family will love having this as an easy dinner option!
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