Posted by: ThePseudotarian | February 18, 2011

Enchiladas, cleaning out the pantry style

So I’m struggling with an internal debate right now. It’s a doozy …

Do I paint my kitchen right when we move in? OR … do I wait, and paint it when we’re less stressed about things like, say … how to fit the couch into the truck (by the way, it doesn’t).

This is not a matter of just painting some walls either, people. This is taking off ALL the cabinets, sanding, priming, painting. Painting the walls while the cabinets dry. Freaking out because I’m worried about the paint color. Crying. Making macaroni and cheese in the microwave because that’s what I do when I stress out.

I jest (mostly). I’m very much looking forward to painting, but I know the kitchen is going to be a big endeavor. That’s why I’m debating doing it when we move, or waiting. A big concern is that if we wait … I’ll just leave it in its sad, drab, olive-colored state for the next 10 years. Or however long we’re there.

I digress.

While we’re gearing up for gallons of paint and hundreds of trips back and forth between house and apartment, I’ve been trying to keep our pantry and food items manageable. This includes nixing that extra grocery trip for 10-lbs of potatoes because all I want is a bowl of porcini mushroom soup. It also includes attempting to eat as much of our stockpiled odds and ends as possible – pantry and fridge alike. So I’ve been trying to dig up recipes that use plenty of lentils, rice and beans, since I always have way too many bags of each in my pantry.

By the way, have I told you what I’m using for a “pantry” in my teeny tiny, awful apartment kitchen? A crappy old bookshelf.

Now, I hope you can see why thoughts of my beautiful, teal, soon-to-be kitchen have consumed my thoughts.

Ok, I’ll stop blabbering about my house. That I love.


Back to my pantry and my attempt to cook with it. Hey, it’s not an easy feat, people. I’ve been up to my ears in lentil soup lately, so I decided that I wanted to try something a bit different. Something a bit risky … something baked … and cheesy …


I’ve been finding recipes for them all over the place, but the majority called for a laundry list of ingredients: queso fresco, echilada sauce, jalapenos, eight OTHER different kinds of peppers and/or salsa. Please take note, that none of these things exist in my pantry at the moment. But I decided to approach enchiladas as more of a “theory.” Go ahead, call me a nerd, I don’t care. My basic understanding of the dish was: creaming/delicious filling rolled up into tortillas which then have some kind of sauce poured over top and then they are baked until they are crispy, gooey and delicious all at the same time.

If you’re an enchilada devotee, my version may seem way off base. Sacrilegious, even. But I can accept that, because if I did have those ingredients in my pantry, you can bet your enchilada-lovin’ you-know-what that I’d have used them.

I will stop with the colloquialisms and kitschy sayings now … sorry  =)

Now that we have the disclaimer out of the way, we can get to the good stuff.

Vegetarian Two-Bean Pantry Enchiladas

1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup cooked rice
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 can cooked white beans (you can also use kidney or pinto beans for this, anything except for black beans – those show up later)
1 cup asiago cheese, shredded and divided
1 cup colby cheese, shredded and divided
1/2 cup of plain yogurt (or sour cream if you’d like)
Smoked paprika
Salt and pepper
1 can black beans
1/4 cup water
Annie’s Ranch Dressing (I’m only listing the brand so you don’t judge me too much)

Tortillas (I used ones that were way too large – more for burritos, so I only had space for 4 – I recommend smaller ones)

I know it’s a daunting list of ingredients, but bear with me!

Saute your onions in the butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally until they’re soft and lightly browned and add the garlic, cooking until just fragrant. Add rice, corn and white beans, stirring to combine. Add yogurt, stir and let the mixture heat.

When it’s just about bubbling (be very careful to not let it boil!), add half the shredded asiago and half of the shredded colby.  and stir until well melted. Delicious strings of cheese should come off the spoon. Feel free to adjust your cheese here – you don’t have to use that much, you can add more … you can change what type of cheese you use. Stir in paprika, cumin, parsley salt and pepper to taste. I have no measurements, since I like to finagle my spices!

Spoon this mixture into the center of the tortillas, roll them and place them seam-side down into a greased/buttered/oiled 9×13 baking dish. I recommend steaming the tortillas in the microwave first, so they’re soft and pliable. Repeat until your dish is filled. Also, this is important, only … one … layer. Learn from my mistake dear readers who find this blog via wordpress tags and my tumblog!

Pour black beans into a sauce pan with water over medium-high heat and stir vigorously, to mash a few up and create a more sauce-like consistency. Add more liquid if need be, but it shouldn’t be watery. When hot, pour this mixture evenly over the wrapped enchiladas. Lightly drizzle some ranch over the enchiladas. Do NOT soak them, people! Light drizzle!

Sprinkle the remaining cheese evenly over the enchiladas and pop ’em in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes. They’re done with the cheese is melted and bubbly and the tortillas are crisp.

Serve with a little more yogurt if you wish, and a sprinkling of paprika and parsley.

Next time, when I’m not hampered by my pantry’s lack of food, I want to try to use fire roasted tomatoes for the sauce that tops the enchiladas. However, if you do it my way with the beans, I’d recommend adding a tablespoon or two of yogurt to the black bean mixture to make it more saucy.

Also, love this because it’s very customizable. Add or ingredients. Play around with spiciness. Clean out your pantry and/or freezer.

Anyway, enjoy these gooey little delights. I’m making another batch tonight. What else would you add to enchiladas that are common pantry or freezer staples?



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