Enchiladas in crockpot

Mom’s Enchiladas – Crockpot Recipe

I love enchiladas! Mom would make them on occasion while I was growing up. Growing up where I did, Mexican food was favorite. I learned to make all of the dishes, except chorizo. I am cool with that. Mom made hers in a pan. I started making them this way a few years ago.

I found making enchiladas in the crockpot gives them the next-day flavor the first day. It does mean they are cut out in chunks instead of taking out a couple at the time like if they were made in a pan. We are okay with that.

This round, you get to see the results of not paying attention to the time. If it is near dinner time, you turn the crockpot down to “Warm”, lifting the lid a moment and replacing it so they do not cook to the point of the cheese melding into the top enchiladas. There is nothing wrong with it, though it is not “pretty” and the enchiladas tend to become very, very soft. I got something that was creepy and hysterically funny instead, though they were still delicious.

You can make these in a pan and I will include the instructions for both the oven and the crockpot. You can also substitute your favorite homemade enchilada sauce instead of canned. I was feeling lazy and used canned this round. The same goes for the beef. You can use chicken or pork or even beans. Your choice, substitute as you prefer. As usual, all my ingredients are organic, gmo-free sourced.

Crockpot Enchiladas

Mom’s Enchiladas

Lots or at least 1 lb of each of jack and cheddar cheese, shredded
1 lb beef, ground round
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 small cans olives, sliced and drained
2 pkgs corn tortillas*, 24 total
1 large and 1 small can enchilada sauce
2 or 3 tbsp of lard or a neutral oil (coconut, sunflower or avocado)

If you like a milder sauce, add 1 can of tomatoes, chopped and undrained, to the sauce.

*You can substitute flour tortillas. Do remember! Flour tortillas GROW when in a lot of sauce. Use a very deep baking pan if baking these or do not fill to the top of the crockpot. I suggest putting a large piece of foil under the baking pan is you use flour tortillas to avoid the possibility of sauce overflowing onto the bottom of your oven. Forewarned is forearmed, or something like that.

If using a baking pan, make sure it is large- 4-quart and at least 2-1/4″ deep. You can use two 2-quart pans, even freezing the second one for another dinner. A 6 quart crockpot will hold 24 enchiladas perfectly.

Enchilada assembly

Meat Filling
Drain the olives and set aside. Brown the beef with the onion in a skillet. When it is done, add the garlic and cook one minute before taking off the heat. If you use a higher-fat meat, drain the grease. Stir in the drained olives. Set aside. Note: You can make the meat filling the night before and refrigerate overnight.

Put all of the sauce in a large measuring cup and set aside. I found this makes things easier, especially if I add the chopped tomatoes to the sauce. Shred and set aside the cheeses. Get out a plate big enough to hold a tortilla.

Warm 1 tbsp of the lard or oil to medium heat. As it warms, pour about a 1/4″ deep of the sauce into the baking pan or crockpot. Pour a little sauce onto the plate for dipping.

Dip the tortilla in the hot fat for a few seconds at a time. You want them softened enough to roll, not cooked. I do not recommend this, but I hold the edge with my fingers, making sure to not get into the hot oil of course, flipping it over and then gently shaking off the extra fat before dipping the tortilla in the sauce on the plate on one side, then turning it over on the plate to fill.

You will be adding more oil to the pan when needed and more sauce to the plate as you make the enchiladas. You will find the tortillas cool down quickly when you dip them in the sauce and you will not burn your fingers rolling them up.

A tortilla “trick” I learned! See the lines on the commercial tortillas all running one way? Those go horizontally to the direction you will roll the enchiladas. That makes long lines the length of the enchilada, so to speak, not rings around. Same goes for anytime you roll or fold a tortilla. You get less breakage that way.

Place some of the cheese on the tortilla in a line near the edge closest to you. Top with the filling. Roll up gently and as tightly as possible. Place seam-side-down in the baking pan or crockpot. Continue this method until the pan is filled and the enchiladas are packed tight. For the crockpot, after making a layer of 8 enchiladas, make a second and third layer of 8 enchiladas.

When done, pour the remaining sauce evenly as possible all over the enchiladas. Top with the remaining cheese. OH! If for some reason you have some filling leftover, I will sprinkle that over the enchiladas first, then the sauce and topping with the cheese. If there is not enough cheese to your liking on top, shred up some more!

Bake the enchiladas at 350°F or about 176°C-177°C. A moderate oven. Bake until the cheese is melted on top and the enchiladas are hot clear through. This can take 1/2 an hour or so, depending on your oven and elevation.

Turn the crockpot to “Low”, cover and let cook until the cheese melts and the enchiladas are hot clear through- about 4 to 6 hours. If it is close to dinner time, turn the crockpot to “Warm”. Lift the lid and replace after a minute so the crockpot cools down enough to not overcook the enchiladas.

Creepy enchilada face

What happens when you do not pay attention and the enchiladas are on “Low” for too long? The cheese melds and disappears into the enchiladas and they become very soft. A large spoon to lift them out “casserole-style” will be called for. I also had the tops of the tortillas break apart, and this creepily hilarious “face” appeared. The way the onion was on the slice of olive that peered through looked like the membrane of an eye, doesn’t it? It is like the enchilada did not approve of being over-cooked. laughing… It was delicious, still.

Leftovers: Take what you want for dinner and put into a butter or greased dish and warm at 325°F for about 15 to 20 minutes to heat completely through.

Enchiladas also freeze nicely. I put the pan in the fridge to cool completely, cover with wrap and freeze for a couple of hours. I then pop it out and warp in plastic and put into a seal bag, zip bag or large freezer container. Or freeze the way you prefer.

When thawing, remove the plastic if used and put into a buttered or lightly greased pan, and let thaw in the refrigerator. Warm like you did for the leftovers. If warmed while still frozen, it may come out like the over-cooked crockpot ones. Enjoy!

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