Thursday, March 8, 2012

Eat: Black Bean Enchilada

Shortly before a few friends welcomed a darling daughter into this world my sister in-law, another friend and I put together a few freezable meals for them. It took us a few hours of shopping and cooking and we were able to send three main dishes all ready to go into the freezer over to them. It was great fun and inspired me to think differently about meal prep around my own home. I started thinking why not do more freeze ahead meals for easy, inexpensive and quick lunches and dinners at home. Maybe it is because I grew up in a family of 8, but I often feel like cooking a meal just for myself is a waste of time and find that I gravitate towards the convent foods at the store or end up eating a dinner made up entirely of walnuts and dried cherries or cheese and popcorn (not that there is anything wrong with a cheese and popcorn night, I am a huge fan, but four nights a week might be over kill). With that in mind I started to think wouldn't it be better to spend one afternoon making a few meals that I could freeze in to single serving and reheat just as quickly as that "Chinese" Orange Chicken meal? With a clear yes answer I embarked on coming up with a few easy make ahead meals and of course I am going to share them with you, because that's just the kind of helpful girl I am!
To kick things off I'm going to start with a lunch time favorite; Black Bean Enchilada. This recipe is so simple and quick it almost doesn't seem fair to call it a recipe. What you'll need is:
A mixing bowl and a baking dish
1 can black beans (I buy mine at Trader Joe's for less than a buck a can)
1 can Enchilada sauce - I like green, but red is good too (extra points if you make your own)
1 can green chilies - if you like things a little hotter
1 cup of shredded cheese - I like the "Mexican" blend
1/2 onion chopped - optional, I don't really like onion and I really hate chopping them so I leave it out
6 flour tortillas
What you'll do is this:
Preheat oven to 350
Drain beans
Mix beans, cheese, 1/2 can of chilies and 2 tbls of sauce in mixing bowl - this is your filling
Mix remaining chilies into remaining sauce - set aside
Divide filling evenly between tortillas and wrap tightly - it is important to wrap tightly so they are easy to wrap individually for freezing
Place filled tortillas into baking dish
Smother with sauce
Bake until tortilla turn golden brown - takes about 20 min in my oven, but I don't really trust that old boy to stay at a consistent temp so you may find that things go quicker or slower
See I told you they were easy. After baking I let them cool completely then jimmied each one out of the baking dish and wrapped them in two layers of tin foil (next time I'll use a layer of plastic wrap and then the foil, because I found the foil hard to remove before microwaving). I new I'd eat them fairly quickly so I did not bother dating them before tossing them into my freezer, but it would be a good idea, I think they will keep nicely for a few months if you seal them up nice and tight.
Now I'm wondering if you have any easy and quick freezer to table meal ideas you could share with me. If so do please tell!

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