One of my favorite foods is cheese. Saying I love cheese is an understatement. Cheese is one of my food groups. You know what else I love? Mexican food. I love the subtle spicy flavors that Mexican food has. It just so happens that cheese and Mexican food go perfect together. When I go out to eat at any Mexican restaurant, there is one item that I usually gravitate to: cheese enchiladas. Can you really go wrong with a tortilla stuffed with bubbly cheese in spicy enchilada sauce?
Cheese enchiladas are extremely easy to make. They are also inexpensive and very filling for any family. Samuel and I eat them for dinner and have leftovers for lunch the next day. That’s an easy dish that feeds us twice. We don’t even have any sides with them, but I’d imagine chips and salsa or a side salad with these would fill you up even longer. I just love the prep time for the enchiladas is under 10 minutes. And the bake time is a mere 17 minutes.
This recipe only requires three ingredients, unless of course you choose to add in more or make homemade tortillas or enchilada sauce. Me? I am perfectly content with taking the easy road to delicious-ville with store bought ingredients. Another positive to this recipe, as if could get better, is that it’s nearly fool-proof. If you can put cheese on a tortilla and roll it, you can accomplish the hardest part of this recipe. The assembly of the enchiladas is so easy that you may wonder why you have never made enchiladas before.
The first step of this recipe is to simply pour a light layer of enchilada sauce into the bottom of a 13×9 pan. This sauce helps the enchiladas from sticking to the bottom of the pan. You don’t need much, just make sure the entire bottom is coated with sauce. I then shred cheese from the block because it melts better. Pre-shredded cheese in the packages just doesn’t melt the same as cheese from a block. I love to use pepper jack and extra sharp cheddar in the enchiladas. Both of these cheeses have a strong flavor, so you can use less cheese and have just as much melty, gooey deliciousness. Feel free to use any cheese of your choice.
After you put the shredded cheese in the tortillas and roll them up, make sure you put them seam side down so they don’t unroll in the pan. This will become apparent if you accidentally forget this. Yes, I forgot this the second time making these. I like to roll my enchiladas fair tight to fit as many as I can in the pan. They also loosen up a bit when baking in the enchilada sauce.
Next, pour remaining sauce over the enchiladas. This is where you may need more or less the amount of sauce called for in the recipe. I made these very saucy. However, you really just need enough sauce to wet the tops and sides of the tortillas. This keeps them from burning and becoming too crunchy. If you only want enough sauce to make sure the tortillas are wet, that will still be very delicious!
These cheese enchiladas are wonderful. They are saucy, cheesy, spicy, and oh-so-melty. It’s hard to believe they were only 250 calories per enchilada. Restaurant cheese enchiladas are upwards of over 300 calories per enchilada. I just love that you know exactly what ingredients are going in to these enchiladas, and they are a yummy low calorie meal. You can always customize these to your family’s tastes. Samuel suggested onions next time, so I may throw in some sautéed onions in with the cheese next time I make these. Beef or chicken can also be easily added in.
Skinny Cheese Enchiladas
Total calories: 1,750
Servings: 7 (read below for information about more servings this makes)
- 1 ¾ cup mild enchilada sauce (See Helpful Tips below)
- Shredded cheese (See Helpful Tips below)
- 7-8 flour tortillas or 20-24 corn tortillas (See Helpful Tips below)
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Pour a little sauce into the bottom of a 13×9 pan. The sauce should be just enough to cover the bottom. This helps the enchiladas from sticking to the pan. (I used about 1/2 cup out of the 1 ¾ cup sauce for the bottom of my pan.)
- Place cheese in the middle of the tortilla, roll, and place in pan. I used ½ cup of cheese for each enchilada (see Helpful Tips). Make sure the seam of the rolled enchilada is on the bottom, so it does not unroll in the pan. Rolling them tighter means you can fit more into the pan, so keep that in mind!
- Repeat step 3 until you have filled the pan with enchiladas. Once the pan is filled, pour the rest of the sauce over them. Make sure you cover them completely. The parts that are not covered will become hard and crispy and possibly burn. I use a silicon spatula (the kind you mix batter with) to spread the sauce across the tops and edges of the tortillas. You just want some of the sauce to touch all parts of the tortilla.
- If you want to cover the enchiladas with cheese, now is the time! I did a sparse sprinkling of cheese on top because these are already very cheesy. You can use a little, a lot, or none at all to cover them. Once you have done this, place them into the oven and bake for 17 minutes. Enjoy when they are bubbly and hot!
For the enchilada sauce, I used a 19 oz can of Old El Paso mild sauce. I used about 1 ¾ cup sauce, but please use as little or as much as you want. The goal is to get the tortillas wet with sauce so they do not get crunchy while baking. You don’t have to use a lot of sauce to accomplish this, so you really can’t go wrong. Also if you want them spicier, use whatever kind of enchilada sauce you want. I think the mild is perfect with the pepper jack cheese inside. Just the right amount of spice.
I used carb free flour tortillas. I found them to be the lowest calorie tortilla my grocery store sells (they are 120 calories per tortilla). They are a normal sized tortilla. If you use the larger tortillas (ones used for wraps), you will need to use less of them or use a bigger pan. If you use corn tortillas, you will need more because they are generally smaller. Just use your judgment on how much sauce to use. You really can’t mess this recipe up. I have used more sauce and less sauce than listed in the recipe, and both batches were equally successful! Also, if your tortillas break while you are rolling the enchiladas, warm them up in the microwave before rolling! This will help them from breaking.
Now for the best part- the cheese! I used pepper jack and extra sharp cheddar. I recommend using a block cheese and shredding it yourself. Already pre-shredded cheeses do not melt as well as block cheese due to the additives in the pre-shredded. Pepper jack is also a lower calorie cheese and it provides a lot of flavor! I used ½ cup cheese for each enchilada, half pepper jack and half extra sharp cheddar. These were plenty cheesy! Again, just use your judgment based on the size of your tortillas and how cheesy you want them to be.
You can certainly add shredded chicken or beef to these enchiladas. Make sure you pre-cook any protein you add, and just add the protein when you put the cheese in. You can also add fresh veggies or beans to these. I would pre-cook any raw vegetables so they are tender before cooking the enchiladas. If you use canned beans, they would be fine to add without pre-cooking them. Samuel put a dollop of light sour cream on his enchiladas. I also searched for an avocado to top them with, but I could not find a ripe one.