What a delicious surprise this recipe is i found in an old recipe book a good friend gave me. In my search on how to prepare zucchiniwithout making a sweet bread, i stumbled on this one! Have already made it multiple times to great reviews and made a couple more that i put into the freezer with cooking instructions written with a Sharpie marker on the foil covering it.
Zucchini & Cheese Enchiladas or Casserole*
2 tbsp butter
4 tbsp flour
1 tsp chili powder (optional)
½ tsp ground cumin
2 cups milk
2 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese
½ tsp salt
Black pepper to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
1 ½ cups chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 large bell pepper chopped (optional)
6 cups chopped zucchini
16 to 18 corn tortillas
2 cups chopped tomatoes
In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour, chili powder, and cumin to make a thick paste. Add the milk, a little at a time, using a wire whisk. Slowly add the cheese, stirring constantly until cheese is melted. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside. Preheat oven to 400˚F. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes. Add bell pepper and zucchini and sauté 2 more minutes. Add ¼ cup of water, cover, and steam veggies until tender. Remove vegetables from heat, and drain excess liquid. Gently mix in 2/3 of the cheese sauce. Lightly oil a 9×13-inch baking dish. To assemble, place two tortillas side by sade at one end of the pan. Spread a generous amount of filling down the center of the tortillas, then fold them over and roll up the tortillas. Place filled enchiladas seam-side-down in the pan. Continue in this manner until you have filled the pan. Spoon remaining sauce on top and garnish to tomatoes. Bake, uncovered, for 20 -25 minutes. Serves 8
*I prefer making this as a casserole since it’s much easier. i do take the time to prepare freshly made corn tortillas with Masa Harina, then loosely layer the flavorful tortillas on the bottom of the pan, then top with half the zucchini/cheese mixture, layer another set of tortillas and spread the remaining zucchini/cheese mixture. Spread the remaining 1/3 of cheese mixture on top, then dot the whole casserole with diced tomatoes.
Sometimes a stumbled upon recipe in a catalogue or magazine or flyer really resonates with your family and it becomes part of the regular menu lineup. This casserole is one such that i found probably 20 years ago. The beauty of it, is that it is easily modified to accommodate your own tastes and whatever you have on hand (within reason of course!)
The original recipe is pictured way below, but the one i made yesterday included my home raised green beans and home grown grass finished ground beef. For chopping the vegetables i use a mini food chopper and even chop the green beans if i’m preparing for Sunday’s meal with Allen’s 98-year-old Aunt June. She has lost her teeth and can’t keep track of dentures – so it is what it is.
Family sized version:
2 lbs grass-finished ground beef
1 medium sized onion – chopped
3 medium sized carrots – chopped
1-2 cups Asian long pole green beans – chopped
1 24 oz jar tomatoes
2 cups of your favourite cheese, divided – 1 1/2 cups to stir into veggie/beef mix, 1/2 cup to top off the casserole. Or stir in 2 cups of cheese to melt – whatever your choice!
Brown the ground beef in a 4 quart pot and add all the vegetables, including the tomato sauce, throw in maybe a tablespoon of salt (check your tomato sauce – it may already have salt in it – i try to use straight tomatoes) and a teaspoon of black pepper -whatever suits ya, and let it simmer for 20 minutes or so. Add 1 1/2 cups of your favourite cheese and stir to melt.
Once the mix is ready, pour into a 9×13 inch pan, level it off, then top with biscuits. I make my own, but you can buy some to use. Then sprinkle about a cup of shredded cheese on top. Then add a sprinkling of parsley, basil, or oregano if you like.
Bake in a preheated oven of 375 F for about 28 minutes until cheese is melted and biscuits are golden brown. This makes 6-8 servings. Takes about an hour to make and bake, but if there are leftovers, it’s still a time saver. What does it cost? that will totally depend on the quality of ingredients you purchase.