29 January 2011

Recipe: Cream Cheese & Spinach Enchiladas

Mmmmmm...enchiladas...


Thought I might take a minute to share with you the very easy recipe for these sinfully good wraps of cheesiness.  My best friend, Christy, and I used to make these when we were in college and took ourselves off the meal plan.  It's inexpensive, they take about 30-40 minutes from start to finish to assemble/bake, and they are one of the few foods I actually crave when they are left over.  The cream cheese offsets the spiciness of the enchilada sauce, and your taste buds are sure to enjoy the explosion of flavors.  We have made this meal with shredded chicken before, but it takes extra time if the meat is not already cooked.  Keep in mind: I don't usually give exact amounts of ingredients because I tend to play with them until we like the final dish.  I encourage you to do the same!

Ingredients needed:

  • wheat tortillas (the medium-sized ones)
  • 1 can of enchilada sauce (red or green)
  • 1-2 packages of softened cream cheese (I use the Neufchatel variety because it has less fat)
  • shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • green onions
  • fresh cilantro
  • large tomato
  • red bell pepper
  • button mushrooms
  • fresh spinach
  • olive oil
  • red pepper flakes (optional)
  • sour cream (also optional)
  • sea salt and freshly-cracked pepper to taste
Materials needed:
  • cookie sheet
  • parchment paper
  • saute pan
  • cutting board
  • sharp knife
  • tongs
  • spatula
  • medium-sized mixing bowl
The fun part:

First, wash the fresh ingredients and set them on dish towels or in a colander to dry.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees (the can of sauce says so).

Then, put the softened cream cheese into your mixing bowl.  If you want more enchiladas, use 2 packages.  If you are only serving a couple of people, one package will suffice.

Pour a couple of tablespoons of the olive oil into your saute pan and turn the temperature to medium.  While the pan heats, cut the mushrooms and bell pepper into bite-sized pieces.  Add to pan to saute them until they start to brown (or even char).  Use tongs to occasionally toss them while they cook.

Meanwhile, chop the green onions from white to green end.  Add the white ends in the mixing bowl.  Save the green ends for decking the tops of the wraps.

Roughly chop the cilantro and the tomato, discarding woody stems and seedy pulp.  Add these to the mixing bowl.  Give a little mush and stir.  Check on veggies that are sauteing.

When the mushrooms and bell pepper are browned, add handfuls of fresh spinach and a couple of pinches of red pepper flakes.  Allow the spinach to wilt considerably before removing from heat.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to disperse the flavor.  Add these vegetables to the bowl and mix thoroughly.  If you feel like the mix is a little heavy on the veggies, but you don't want to add another package of cream cheese, throw in a couple of dollops of sour cream.

Grab your tortillas and a large spoon.  If you want thick, hefty enchiladas, spoon the cream cheese mix into the tortillas until they can barely wrap back on themselves.  If you want them a little leaner or want to control your portions better, spoon just enough mix so that you can wrap it up with one end tucked in. Arrange stuffed tortillas folded side down on the cookie sheet that is lined with parchment paper (way better than just greasing your pan with cooking spray).  Once you run out of cream cheese mix/tortillas, pour the enchilada sauce across all of them.  Top with shredded cheese and green onion tops.  I also like to sprinkle more fresh cilantro across the tops.

Bake for 20 minutes.  Serve up using a wide spatula (otherwise, the seams might bust open while you are transferring them to your plate).  Enjoy with a cold beer.


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