Easy, cheesy, mexican food

Easy, cheesy, mexican food

With all the sunny days we’ve had lately (I know, sun in the Netherlands? It’s a freaking miracle!), I didn’t get around to cooking as much as I’ve wanted to. Most days were filled with barbecue’s or simple salads. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I mean, who doesn’t love barbecuing?
However, this week the weather suddenly realized that this wasn’t the south of France but, in fact, the ever cloudy lowlands of Holland, and it quickly readjusted itself to it’s familiar state of grey sky, constant drizzles or just downright gushes of rain, and heavy winds. This called for something a bit more warming and filling than salads or barbecue.

So I consulted the bf for his cravings, food-wise (sidebar: this is a new bf. Well, not so new for me anymore but I haven’t mentioned him in my blogs, until now). Anyway, the ‘new’ bf isn’t that much of a food fanatic. I mean, I know I’m a bit of an exception for my age, but he is another kind of extreme. Before we met, there were a lot of foods he’d never tried (for example: asparagus, aubergines, artichoke, courgette, fennel, mushrooms, blue cheese, risotto and some other things.). Obviously, once he started dating me, that didn’t last long. Luckily (for both of us), so far, he has liked or loved everything I’ve made so far. So when I ask him what he wants to eat, he usually just replies with “whatever you feel like. I’m sure I’ll love it anyway!”.
Though the thought is sweet, it’s definitely not helpful whatsoever.

Anyway, my mind was kind of void from any food ideas. Until I remembered that the last few times we were extremely lazy and decided to order in, we wanted to order Mexican food but failed to do so, for some reason. Hmm Mexican.. that could be good. My usual go to dish whenever I cook Mexican is burrito’s, but I felt like changing it up a bit. So I decided to make enchilada’s, which are basically burrito’s smothered in a spicy sauce and topped of with cheese. What’s not to love?

After my usual ritual when I decide to cook something I’ve never cooked before, reading recipe after recipe and then deciding ‘sod it, I’ll just wing it in the kitchen’, and a very long grocery shopping session (who knew the miscellaneous aisle could be so fun?), I cooked up something that I was rather proud of actually. I must say, even though Mexican food is supposed to be spicy, the enchilada sauce came out really spicy. The bf was complaining about his tongue being on fire, but to be honest, he’s just not used to spicy foods. At all. A few pepperoncini’s and he’s burning up already.. Kind of a food pansy, right? (if he’s reading this: just kidding honey!).
Anyway, I ended up sweetening and diluting it a bit, because it turned out to be just a little to spicy for myself as well. But that might depend on what kind of chili powder you use. But just to be sure, fair warning: taste (and adjust) your sauce before you cover your burrito’s in them!

Enchilada’s, Maren style (serves 3 or 4, depending on your appetite)

For the sauce:

  • 500 ml (approx. 18 oz) tomato sauce, or passata di tomata
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar, for a little sweetness to go with the heat
  • juice of 1 lemon, for a little tanginess


For the Enchilada’s
  • 6 tortilla’s. You could make them yourself, but store-bought is sooo much easier
  • 500 grams (approx. 18 oz) ground beef. You could use turkey, pork, or half&half as well.
  • 1 can (14 oz.) of refried beans
  • (fresh) cilantro stalks, finely chopped
  • 2 red onions, finely chopped
  • 3 or 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • freshly ground black pepper and sea-salt
  • 1 red pepper (the cayenne kind, not the bell peppers), deseeded and finely sliced
  • OPTIONAL: 1 small can of corn
  • (fresh) cilantro leaves, chopped or torn
  • sour cream
  • grated cheese


Start with the sauce: heat up some oil in a heavy bottomed pan, and add the spices and garlic to it. Stir for a bit, until the garlic starts to gain a little color and the spices start to smell really good. Deglace this mixture with the tomato sauce, you could add a little bit of water or stock to ‘smoothen’ the sauce a bit. Stir well, so all the spices all completely dissolved into the tomato sauce. Then, while adding the sugar, turn down the heat and let simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice, stir, taste, adjust to your liking, and set aside.

Next, preheat the oven to 180 °C (350 °F). In a reasonably sized skillet, heat up a good glug of olive oil. Add the cilantro stalks, onion, garlic and pepper and let it simmer until soft (preferably with a lid on, otherwise just turn the heat down to a minimum). Next, add the ground beef and brown on a medium heat. When thoroughly browned, add the refried beans (and optionally the corn). Make sure it warms all the way through, while stirring so everything is evenly mixed. Prepare your tortilla’s by baking them in a frying pan, heating them in the oven or popping them in the microwave.

Divide the beef-mixture between the tortilla’s, accompanied by some grated cheese, and roll them burrito-wise. Place them in an oven-proof dish. Sprinkle on some cheese, ladle over the enchilada sauce, and top of with some more cheese (Maybe I should’ve mentioned this before, but this dish isn’t exactly diet-friendly).

Put them in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted but still soft.

I wish pictures came with a scratch and  sniff  feature, because oh my how delicious this smelled..
Enjoy with some sour cream, freshly chopped cilantro leaves, or as I did, with a small chopped salad with tomatoes, spring onions, avocado, cilantro, lemon juice and olive oil. This will get you hearty, cheesy enchilada with sweet and spicy sauce, topped of with some fresh and tangy salad.. Simply delicious!


..And it tasted even better, yumm!

Nothing else left to say, but: enjoy!

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