Layered Enchilada Pie

If you insist on eating only authentic Mexican cooking, you should skip this recipe. But if you are looking for a different kind of casserole, Layered Enchilada Pie is the answer. It is one of the simplest casseroles you can make and it has fewer than 20 grams of carbohydrates per serving. Has a few calories, of course, but all good things do.

It’s really just a hotdish without the noodles and mixed vegetables but with a hint of Mexican cuisine. It will not make the eyes of a Norwegian water, and if you tell the kids that it is like something you had once at their favorite Mexican restaurant, they might eat it without complaining.

It’s from Favorite Foods of Home Economics Teachers-Foreign Foods Edition, an interesting cookbook that someone gave us many years ago, and it contains a number of recipes that we still enjoy.

Next to this recipe Jerri wrote “good!” and our family has enjoyed this version of a south-of-the-border comfort food many times. Here is how to make it.


1 lb. ground beef
1 medium onion (about 3 inch diameter)
1 clove garlic
2 T butter
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 T chili powder
3/4 cup chopped black olives
1 8 ounce can or 1 cup fresh tomato sauce
6 corn tortillas
2 cups grated medium cheddar cheese
1/2 cup water


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Peel and chop the onion medium fine and mince the garlic. If the olives are not chopped, do it now and grate the cheese. Melt 1 T butter in a skillet over moderate heat and brown the ground beef, onion and garlic. When the meat is no longer pink, drain any fat and add the salt, pepper, chili powder, olives and tomato sauce. Mix well and remove from heat.

Grease a two quart casserole and put a layer of the meat mixture on the bottom. Place two buttered tortillas on the meat and sprinkle with about 1/3 cup cheese. Repeat layers, ending with the cheese. Add the water. Cover and bake for about 30 minutes.

NOTES: This recipe serves 4 to 6 hungry diners.   Buttermilk corn bread or corn pudding goes well with enchilada pie.

Leftover Turkey Enchiladas

Jerri’s and my parents grew up in the Great Depression, and they they did their best to teach us not to waste anything.  In the kitchen this meant cutting the meat off the bones and cooking the turkey carcass after Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner to make turkey broth.  Mom would package the meat for sandwiches and use the broth for soup or other dishes in the weeks following the holidays.

Since there are just two of us at home today, leftover turkey is a challenge.  For the holiday dinner I like to carve a turkey that does not look like a big chicken.  No ten or twelve pound midget for us, which leaves us with enough leftover turkey to feed a large family.

Every year we find a package or two of carefully packaged turkey meat or a container of broth from last year that got lost in the freezer.  We don’t feel as bad today about throwing out these overlooked treasures, since we feed them to the gray fox or the mother bear and her cubs who wander past the cabin in the summer.  “Nothing goes to waste in nature,” I say virtuously as I leave the food in the woods across the brook.

But now that we are in something that resembles that depression of 80 years ago, we are trying to do better about using leftovers.  Since it is my fault that we end up with so many leftovers, it is my responsibility to help find ways to use them.

We like chicken enchiladas.  One day I decided to try making them with leftover turkey.  I did wonder if the hint of sage and allspice in the meat would be a problem, but the result was delicious.  You can poach a chicken breast or some thighs in a little water with a bouillon cube if you don’t have any leftover turkey, but think of those starving children in China that my folks used to remind us of when we had leftovers and make a point of saving some leftover turkey for this great cold weather dinner.


8 large flour tortillas
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 1/2 cups chopped leftover turkey
1 cup sour cream, divided
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chilies
1 jalapeño pepper
2-3 T finely chopped green onions
1/2  tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Dash of hot sauce
1/8 tsp. salt


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Remove the seeds and white membrane from the jalapeño and chop fine.  Clean and chop the green onions.  In a large bowl, combine and mix thoroughly 1/2 of the soup, 3/4 cup sour cream, 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, the Monterey Jack cheese, chilies, turkey, jalapeño , onion, black pepper and salt.

Spoon about 1/2 cup of filling off center on each tortilla and roll up. Place seam side down in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish.

Mix the remaining soup with 1-2 tablespoons water, 1/4 cup sour cream, the cumin, hot sauce, white pepper and chili powder and spread the sauce over the enchiladas.

Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with the remaining cheddar cheese and bake six to eight minutes longer or until the cheese is melted. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

NOTE: Serve with a green salad and glass of beer or white wine.