Enchilada casserole tutorial

 A few weeks ago we had  a party at our place  and I made a vegetarian “chicken” enchilada casserole.  Everyone loved it!  Some people were very confused, saying “I thought you guys were vegetarian; there’s chicken in here!”  Well, yeah, but no.  There wasn’t any dead yard bird in there, just good ol’ Trader Joe’s Chickenless Strips.  I’ve posted a picture of the box a few posts back.  I like using those things.  They are so handy when it comes to doing recipe reduxes involving chicken.  Trying to make mostly vegetable heavy meals now days, I like to indulge in some processed stuff once in a while.  Moderation in everything, right?

The night before last I decided to make the casserole for dinner.  Since it was such a hit at the party, I thought I should share it with my blog audience this time.  So here goes:

The first layer

This is made like a lasagna, in layers.  The first layer I spooned in some green enchilada sauce (yes, from a can!), two corn tortillas (or what ever fits in your dish), sprinkle a little grated cheese (I used pepper jack and cheddar), chopped onion, sliced olives, chopped jalapeno, and chopped Trader Joe’s Chickenless Strips (I sauted these first in a little olive oil, added garlic powder, cumin, salt and chili powder to taste).

Layer two more corn tortillas

Ladle more green enchilada sauce on top

Add a little grated cheese

Add the chickenless strip chunks, sliced olives, chopped jalapeno, chopped onions

Load the top up with cheese

And bake it until it looks like this!  Preheat your oven while you are building your casserole to 350 degrees.  Bake for about 30 minutes, until it is browned and bubbling.  The other night when this was baking I made Spicy Quinoa instead of rice and refried black beans.  I’ve shown you in past posts how I make refried beans so I’m not going to get into that this time.  I am, however, going to show you  a little step by step action with the quinoa.

Before you heat the pan, have a measuring cup with the liquid ready.  I have a 1 cup plastic measuring cup that has all of the cool markings on it.  I put 1 – 2 tablespoons of chili paste or salsa into the cup and add water or stock up to the 3/4 cup  marking.  Add a small amount of olive oil to a small sauce pan.  Heat over medium high heat, saute a couple tablespoons chopped onions, add some salt, cumin and chili powder to taste and 1/2 cup quinoa.  Stir often until quinoa starts to brown a little.

  Add your liquid and reduce heat to low and cover pan with lid.  Cook until all of the liquid has evaported, about 19 minutes.  Fluff with fork when done.

And this is what it looks like when it is done!  My lighting is a little strange here, so don’t freak if you make this and it isn’t this color, okay?

Add a  green salad and you’ve got yourself a nice balanced meal.  This is better than any Mexican restaurant and a lot lower in fat.  The whole thing takes less than an hour from start to finish.  And, yeah, we really eat meals like this almost every day.  Just ask Katie!


28 Responses to “Enchilada casserole tutorial”

  1. March 17, 2010 at 10:54 pm

    Mmmmm… enchilada casserole! I’m so spoiled!

    Those chickenless strips are soooo good. It’s always a good idea to keep the carnivores on their toes. You just never know when they might turn on us.

    Oh, and personally, I like the Spanish quinoa better than rice… and I’m half Mexcian; I grew up on very spicy Spanish rice. The quinoa is lighter, more nutricious and packs all the flavor. Thank Vampiregran for bringing my trim girlish figure back to me in time for spring dresses.

  2. March 17, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    And you do look good in all of your spring time frocks, my love!

  3. March 18, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    i shouldn’t have read this right before lunchtime. that looks stellar!

  4. March 18, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    absolutely YUM, I looooove it!

    Thanks for sharing such a tasty enchilada casserole recipe.


  5. 7 apocalypsecakes
    March 18, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    I love it, Vampire Gran.

  6. March 18, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    sounds nice, we used to make enchilada pie’s using tortillas as the crust!

    • March 18, 2010 at 9:42 pm

      Oh, that’s a great idea! One time I made a Mexican pizza for a friend who is gluten intollerent using corn tortillas. She loved it! Thanks for taking the time to read my blog and make a comment. Happy cooking!


  7. 11 Eel
    March 18, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    I too make my own version of this and it is delicious. I leave out the green sauce though. I should post the recipe on my Food Blog and we could have a tasting night!

    • March 18, 2010 at 9:41 pm

      Thanks for reading and commenting. You should post the recipe on your blog and have a tasting. It would be fun! Let me know if you do that. In the meantime, I will check your blog out.


  8. March 18, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    Wow, that looks SO yummy (but simple)! I’ll try it out (w/ chicken). Thanks!

  9. March 18, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    Major YUM! And quick. I’m all about quick and mess free. I created a enchalasagne recipe after watching a food show o TV and I love it but it’s a lot of work. I make it for special occasions.

  10. March 19, 2010 at 12:31 am

    What a heavy looking meal! I like how you took pictures of the process. What caught me was the word “enchilada”; I love Mexican food and my blog has mostly Mexican recipes!

    Also, I feel the same way on “processed/fake meats” for vegetarians. I try to use them sparingly; every couple months I’ll treat myself to fake chicken nugget strips, but I do use Yves veggie ground often for tacos and the like 🙂

    • March 19, 2010 at 1:24 am

      The funny thing is, the entire meal looks heavy but is actually quite light. You can always use less cheese, but that casserole fed us for three days! The quinoa only had 1 tsp. of olive oil, about 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the beans and about 2 teaspoons of oil in the salad dressing. So total 2 tablespoons oil plus the cheese is the only fat in the meal.

      Thanks for taking the time to look at my blog and making a comment. I hope you come back soon.


  11. March 19, 2010 at 12:42 am

    OMG, it looks so good, have to try it

  12. 21 HPT class
    March 19, 2010 at 1:48 am

    This looks mighty good, but you should take pictures with fake food 😉

  13. March 19, 2010 at 6:25 am

    It is so good.
    welcome to thailand my food Tomyumgoong

  14. 24 erebusetnox
    March 19, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    Thanks for this recipe! I was trying to puzzle this one out on my own, and my first attempt fell a bit flat. We have come to love quinoa around here as well. I use it for burritos, b/c it is so much lighter, fluffier, sweeter (I cook it alone in vegetable broth), and full of good stuff.
    I do wonder whether there is a way to adapt it for a paella…?

  15. March 23, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    i very enjoy your own posting style, very unique,
    don’t quit and keep posting as it simply worth to read it,
    impatient to browse through alot more of your current article content, kind regards 🙂

  16. March 26, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    You are making me hungry.

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