I’m a lazy cook. I don’t peel my tomatoes when I’m supposed to, hack my onions into a rough chop instead of a tidy dice, rarely salt eggplant before cooking it, and build elaborate shortcuts into cookbook recipes that are too fussy for my taste.
My excuse? I’m a mom. I’ve got places to go and people to feed. Which is exactly why I made up this Lazy Girl’s Enchilada Pie.
I’m crazy for enchiladas, but warming all those tortillas so they don’t crack, then filling, rolling, and tucking them one-by-one into a pan? It’s not for me. This layered business is more my style. It allows me time to make dinner AND run those errands (or perhaps just sit on the deck with a glass of summery wine before it’s time to eat). Nice.
Here’s how it goes down: Tortillas, refried beans, fresh corn, diced zucchini, enchilada sauce, and cheese get layered up in a cake pan to the tippy top. It’s finished with more cheese and then baked until bubbling. The recipe spells out the order of the layering, but it’s all very forgiving, so don’t worry if you haven’t got it quite right the first time.
It’s also pretty darn healthy, as far as enchiladas go. The foundation of the dish is beans and veggies. I’m generous with the cheese, but it works out to just about an ounce per serving, not overkill from a nutrition front. Corn tortillas are whole grain…all the better if you seek out organic ones. Served with my standard Mexican side — shredded cabbage, carrots, red pepper, cilantro, a hefty squeeze of lime, a little olive oil, and salt — makes it that much more nourishing and adds great texture to the plate.
Best of all, kids go nuts for it. My niece Maggie, an enchilada amateur, along with my own three kids, gobbled it down with the sort of enthusiasm usually reserved for chocolate cupcakes.
So go be lazy. Make yourself some enchiladas.
Lazy Girl’s Enchilada Pie
This is at its very best when using fresh, summer corn. But if you are making it out of season and using frozen corn, figure about 1 1/2 cups defrosted corn kernels. If your crew isn’t fond of corn or zucchini, you can substitute another vegetable or ground turkey meat.
• 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 small red or yellow onion, finely chopped
• 2 medium zucchini cut into a 1/3-inch dice
• 2 ears corn, shucked and kernels cut from the cob
• Juice of 1 lime
• Pinch salt
• Nine 6-inch corn tortillas
• One 15-ounce can low- or non-fat refried black or pinto beans
• One 15-ounce can mild green enchilada sauce, divided
• 2 cups coarsely grated Monterey Jack cheese (6 ounces), divided
Makes 6 servings
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Pour the olive oil into a large skillet and set over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until slightly tender, 2 1/2 minutes. Add the zucchini and corn and continue to sauté another 2 minutes or so until just tender, but not soft. Add the lime juice and pinch of salt, stir, and remove from heat.
Lay 6 of the tortillas on your work surface and spread half the can of beans over the surface of them. Save the remaining half can of beans for another use.
Pour 1/3 of the can of enchilada sauce into the bottom of a 9-inch cake. Lay 3 of the bean-covered tortillas in the pan, covering as much of the bottom of the pan as possible. They will overlap and there will be gaps between the tortillas. Put half of the corn/zucchini mixture on top of the tortillas, spreading it evenly. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the cheese over the corn/zucchini.
Lay the 3 remaining bean-covered tortillas over the corn/zucchini mixture, overlapping as before. Pour another 1/3 of the enchilada sauce over the tortillas, spreading it evenly. Distribute the remaining corn/zucchini mixture over the enchilada sauce. Sprinkle on another 1/2 cup of cheese.
Finish by laying the remaining 3 plain corn tortillas on top of the cheese. Spread the remaining 1/3 of the enchilada sauce. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of cheese on top.
Cover tightly with aluminum foil, being sure it doesn’t rest on the cheese (lest the cheese stick to the foil and not the enchiladas).
Bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until the cheese is brown and bubbly, another 15 minutes or so.