Per Serving: $1.29
It's 10pm on Friday night and I'm elbows-deep in a bag of some sort of animal cracker-like biscuit-cookie things.
I bought this bag for about 80 cents, and I'm 100% certain they're not real food. The second ingredient is sugar, but I learned that after eating half the bag. I also dipped them in peanut butter. Trader Joe's creamy unsalted delicious peanut butter that I will mourn as soon as it is gone. Everyone in my apartment building is in the common area hanging out and drinking and making gyoza and such, but tomorrow is my Monday, so I'm at my computer with fake animal crackers instead. It sounds pathetic, but I'm really okay with it. I'd forgotten how good animal crackers are.
I've resorted to eating strange things because I'm not totally sure what everything is. I haven't been buying things in jars and containers because I can't read the labels! Even though I normally keep it unprocessed, not having anything to fall back on has left me kinda flailing on those days when I run out of food and must.eat.now. I'm really happy about the (expensive) vegetables here, but I didn't realize how much I loved beans until I couldn't find them anymore. However, all that has changed! I discovered (very) expensive lentils (somewhat) expensive garbanzo beans and reasonably priced whole wheat flour! It's very motivating! Hummus! Naan! But, just like in Peru, I'm already missing my Mexican-inspired favorites, so I decided it was time to share this Trader Joe's-inspired Americanized Skillet Enchilada Bake/Casserole.
So here's the thing with cooking the real food on a budget. It's basically all from scratchy scratch. Sometimes, that's a pain in the katukus. So, sometimes I really just want to make things for the world that are 100% manageable on a busy weeknight. This recipe combines all the best elements of Enchiladas (cheese and sauce) with the kind of convenience you need on a Monday (no stuffing and rolling!).
I know, it's Friday. But that gives you plenty of time to hit up the grocery store over the weekend and plan this for Monday! You can buy ALL of these ingredients at Trader Joe's! One stop: tortillas, salsa, beans, onion, pepper, spices, greens, cheese. See, really I've just got your best interests in mind. You can toss some chicken in there, add zucchini, load up on the cheese, or make it extra spicy. The world is your oyster!! Er, well, the grocery store is your oyster? Trader Joe's is your oyster! You get it, right? (Also, a quick Google search tells me that phrase was coined by Shakespeare in The Merry Wives of Windsor. Oh, Billy Shakes, keepin' in weird.)
Anyway, have some enchiladas in casserole form for dinner! And animal crackers for dessert.
Skillet Enchilada Bake
- 7 corn tortillas
- ½ medium onion 1 cup
- 1 large bell pepper
- 2 cloves garlic
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 4 cups chopped greens kale, spinach, etc.
- 15- ounce can black beans ⅕ cups
- 1 cup red salsa 12-16 ounces will do, divided in half
- ¼ cup water
- ½ cup shredded or crumbly cheese – feta cotija, mozzarella, cheddar, jack, etc.
- Optional: you can totally add chicken or carnitas if you’ve got leftover meat!
- Saute the onions and bell pepper for a couple of minutes, then add the garlic and saute until fragrant. Add the seasonings (cumin, oregano, red pepper flakes, and salt) and stir well. Remove from pan and place in a large bowl. Add the kale to the skillet. Saute until wilted. Remove from pan and add to bowl, then add the beans and mix well (you can add meat here). Set aside.
- Mix a little water into the salsa. (I mixed ¼ cup water with a full jar of Salsa Autentica.) Wipe out your skillet (or, alternatively, use a small casserole dish instead), and make sure it the skillet or baking dish is well greased. (I added coconut oil here.) Divide the salsa by pouring about ½ of it with the vegetable and bean mixture.
- Dip the tortillas in the sauce and then layer in the skillet. Start with about 3-4 tortillas (or 3.5), then use 3, then 2. Layer with ½ the vegetable mixture and ½ the cheese. Add another layer of dipped tortillas, then veggies. Finish with one more layer of dipped tortillas and then the remaining sauce. Cover and bake on 375ºF for about 25 minutes. Top with remaining cheese and serve!
Looks so delicious!