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Monday, July 20, 2009

Meatless Main Dish - Black Bean and Vegetable Enchiladas

My wedding day is exactly one week away (that's right we're getting married on a MONDAY – July 27 to be precise - which marks the exact day of our first date two years ago), and as the event rapidly approaches, I find it harder and harder to do ANYTHING during the day that isn't related to wedding planning. Each morning I wake up with good intentions – plans to get caught up, or maybe even get ahead on my Fall line, or maybe just to spend the day in the kitchen tinkering with some new recipes, but inevitably the wedding takes precedence and by the end of the day I realize that all that has been accomplished is a lengthening of my to-do list for the following day. So, its a good thing that last week I had the foresight to be making dinners ahead of time (to be frozen and used in the hectic upcoming days) - otherwise we'd be living off of take-out (or worse, fast food) because truthfully, it has just been too hectic here to get any cooking in.

So, last night I pulled out these black bean and vegetable enchiladas (an easy family favorite) for dinner, and while it took me little effort to prepare, it was an incredibly satisfying meal after a long day of running errands.

Black Bean and Vegetable Enchiladas
(Makes approx. 12 Enchiladas)

1- 15.5 oz. can black beans
(I prefer Goya Organic Canned Black Beans)
**Jon prefers me to use Vegetarian re-fried beans to the Black Beans, but I personally find the consistency to be too mushy when I make that substitution and so I tend to use the black beans more frequently in this dish.
1- 15 oz. can kernel corn
1- 4.5 oz. can chopped green chilies
1-2 fresh jalapenos, chopped (Optional)
1 green (or red/yellow) bell pepper, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
2- 12 oz. cans enchilada sauce (I prefer to use Old El Paso brand- Hot)
12 corn tortillas (You can also use flour, but they tend to be larger so count on having less finished enchiladas if you decide to substitute.)

First off, when using canned vegetables I always rinse the contents thoroughly before using them in my recipe. In this case, dump the beans into a small wire strainer and rinse with cold water until clean. Let the water drain and then place the beans in a small mixing bowl. Add the corn (rinsed in the same fashion), chiles, jalapenos, bell pepper, and onion. Mix together and this will be the filling for the enchiladas.

Next, cover the bottom of the baking dish(es) with a small amount of enchilada sauce (to prevent sticking). Depending on the size of your baking dish(es) this could range from a quarter can to three quarters can of enchilada sauce. I tend to make two trays of 6 using one can of sauce (in total) per tray.

Now it is time to make the enchiladas and place them neatly in the baking dish. I tend to warm up the corn tortillas (20 seconds in the microwave or in the bottom of a heated fry pan) before using them to prevent them from ripping apart as they are rolled and placed into the baking dish. Then, place a small amount of cheese into each tortillas, fill with 1/12 of the bean filling, and roll up placing the “seam” along the bottom of the baking dish. Repeat this until all the filling has been used. Cover the enchilada rolls with the enchilada sauce and the remaining cheddar cheese and then bake for approx. 30 minutes at 350 degrees (or until the cheese is melted and slightly browned and the edges of the enchiladas look “crispy”).

**Note, if you want to ensure that the peppers and onions get soft, you can saute them in a little olive oil before mixing it in with the filling.

Serve the enchiladas over brown rice with sour cream and salsa. Enjoy.Per serving (2 enchiladas): 938 calories, 53 g fiber, 45 g protein, high in vitamins A and C and high in calcium and iron.


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