Easy Enchiladas

Ever have a craving for something but unable to place exactly what it is? I found myself at home one evening after a hectic day of shooting stills for clients, so starving hungry. How can one work with food all day and be hungry? It's possible - Because I don't always cook what I really want when working. I realized after (As I always do) that the craving was for my Mom's enchiladas. The kind of meal that you whip together with fridge and pantry basics. The kind of dinner that doesn't take any time at all and that doesn't require me to beautify it. I know it's good, I know it's reliable, I know I can cut down on prep time and I have a well stocked pantry to thank for it. I've partnered with Cans Get You Cooking to share with you some of my pantry staples and how I use them to make this easy dish! 

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My dad worked in the canning industry for 20 years - Making the machinery that allowed fresh produce grown in our farming community to be safely canned and preserved for market. Did you know that it takes about 4 hours from the time produce is harvested until it's canned, sealing in nutrition and flavor? Not long considering some fruit and vegetables sit on grocery store shelves for a much longer time. 

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I feel pretty strongly about this because we live in a day and age where social media has led us to exclude certain things or change our way of eating, when it's important to realize that not all people have countless resources. Not all people are getting the nutrients that they need. Not all people have an unlimited amount of time or the luxury of wasting any food. It really is a fact: Most Americans throw away approximately 15 to 20 percent of the fresh fruits and vegetables they purchase every year. Stocking up on some canned goods can help with this exactly because they are shelf stable. 

My mom made good use of the boxes of canned goods that dad brought home from work. Most of the time they weren't labeled so we took turns opening cans and as kids, being surprised by what was inside gave us all the giggles. Most of the time it was tomatoes, beans, corn or jam. So many memories of creative meals made using canned goods - but this Enchilada recipe is probably my favorite. It reminds me of late nights studying for high school finals and a hot midnight plate brought to me my mom. It reminds me of Friday's when we would cook and eat a meal from a different part of the globe. Simple as it may be, I love the nostalgia and the taste. I hope you enjoy this easy recipe.

Easy Weeknight Enchilada
Serves 4

1/2 lb lean ground beef
1 cup onion, finely minced
1 4.5oz can chopped green chiles (I like Trader Joe's or Old El Paso)
1 tablespoon garlic paste
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon smoked paprika powder
1 tablespoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 14.5oz can Muir Glen Organic Crushed Tomatoes
1 10oz Old El Paso Red Enchilada Sauce - Mild, divided
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
4 flour tortillas
2 cups shredded jack cheese

Preheat oven to 350F.

1. Combine beef, onion, green chiles, garlic paste and salt in a large skillet over medium-high heat and sauté until onions are translucent and beef browned. Add smoked paprika, cumin, cayenne, crushed tomatoes and half of the red enchilada sauce. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until reduced and thickened (About 10 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in cilantro.

2. Divide beef mixture between flour tortillas by placing spoonfuls in the middle, then roll the tortillas and place next to each other in a skillet or ovenproof baking dish. Top with shredded cheese and remaining enchilada sauce. Bake for 15 minutes or until cheese has melted and browned. Serve immediately.