(Almost) Authentic Cheese Enchiladas

Since we’ve moved to the East Coast, it’s been quite a challenge finding any great Mexican restaurants.   Some grocery stores don’t even carry tortillas.  Missing my family’s cooking, especially the enchiladas we had at gatherings, I decided to try my hand at the recipe my grandma and cousin perfected.   I have labeled these “almost” authentic since I am not yet brave enough to make the tortillas from scratch.  It’s always intimidating for me to try to recreate a meal made by people that love to cook and do a wonderful job.  With a little hesitation and trepidation I just went for it and am so happy I did.  They turned out wonderful, and my husband now has a new favorite dish.  Be prepared to share (or they do re-heat very well), this will yield 2 dozen enchiladas.

Ingredients:

  • 24 tortillas (room temperature, so they don’t crack and break)
  • 46 ounce bottle tomato juice
  • 16 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1/2  to 2/3 jar chili powder
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 6 cups of shredded Mexican and/or Colby Jack cheese
  • You can also add any onion powder/salt, pepper, or other spices to taste

Warm tomato juice, tomato sauce, chili powder, salt, cumin, and ketchup in large pot

One at a time, dip the tortillas into the sauce mixture so they are completely coated on both sides.  Use caution, sauce may be very warm

Lay out covered tortilla and add about ¼ cup of shredded cheese to center

Roll tortilla with cheese inside, and then place in baking dish (I try to lay and roll them in the baking dish to minimize clean up and mess)

Continue process with all 24 tortillas, placing them side by side in the baking dish.  Pour any remaining sauce over the tops of the enchiladas and sprinkle with any remaining cheese. (I ended up filling 2 pans, one had 2 layers of enchiladas.  In the future, I may use 3 pans with 1 layer each for better baking.)

Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes (or until all enchiladas are completely heated through)

You can also add extra ingredients including onions, ground beef, chicken, etc. before rolling.  This came directly from Grandma’s recipe box and was labeled specifically for Cheese Enchiladas.  Next time we make them, however, I will probably do half cheese and half beef or chicken.  Since this was my first time I wanted to keep it as simple as possible until I got the hang of it.  It does take a little bit of work and some space, but since you get 24 out of the deal it is worth the time and effort.  I hope you enjoy these as much as we do.  If you have any suggestions or modifications, send them over.  I’d also love to hear about your family favorites.

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