Cheap Enchiladas

Do you ever look at the amount you’ve spent on groceries at the end of the month and wonder WHERE THE HECK it all went to?  This happens to me all the time.  I have laxed my previous $70/week budget and not sticking to ANYTHING can really do a damper when you are evaluating monthly expenditures.  Anyway, this month was a big one with both eating out AND groceries- I don’t know how that happened.

My first thought for this week was to go vegetarian of course.  Easiest way to be cheap in my mind.

I needed something tasty but filling AND a dish that would leave us with lots of leftovers.  I did this and managed to get away with only making two meals this whole week.

Just call me superwife.

As much disdain as I have for the other Rachael that spells her name normally, I am NOT MAD at her magazine and especially can’t hate it when it contains money conscious recipes.  I am all about cheap, all of the time.  The magazine claims that each serving cost $2.63, which is pretty accurate in my experience.  Rachael Ray’s recipes are usually restaurant level fattening, so I tend to have to do a little work on them.

Example: Frying the corn tortillas before rolling the enchiladas.  You will live if you just spray the pan – in fact, you will live longer if you do that instead.  I also used the below tortillas instead of corn to add extra fiber and some protein. Staying full is my number one mission in life.

 I swapped black beans for pintos, I just like them better.  I changed a lot of things in this recipe, so my version is below (with absolutely no taste compromise).  If you want the full fat, full calorie version, you can find it here.  My new recipe is as follows, and no picture because it looks disgusting but tastes OH SO GOOD.  Sorry, I break good blogger rules everyday, but trust me on this one.

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I’m working on some new things but for now; here’s a recipe you will like.

One of the top tips I have discovered on my road to frugality with my groceries is that making vegetarian dishes at least once a week and making casserole style foods that will last 2-3 nights keeps you rich and skinny.  This is one of my new favorites!  It was very easy to make, versatile (you know I love my versatile dishes), and it lasted us for 3 nights of the week (weeknight laziness prevails!).

I slightly adapted this from Leite’s Culinaria because I don’t  like zucchini, am only using the black bean part, and I used specific ingredients that I want to share. If you notice on the link above, there is also a chicken recipe on the same page that I will surely be trying in the upcoming weeks.  Or you can try it first and tell me about it.  Another note to consider that I am including brand name ingredients in the recipe because I feel that the difference in tortillas and type of cheese used will affect the nutrition contents quite a bit.

The sauce that is in this recipe… OH, THE SAUCE.  It is creamy and cheesy yet (comparably) healthy.  The filling is spicy and flavorful and HEALTHY!  I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT THESE ENCHILADAS IT’S KIND OF WEIRD.

Do you like mushy foods?  Enchiladas are my favorite Mexican delight because they are mushy rather than crunchy.

Do you have a designated vegetarian day, or just do it randomly or when you need to save money?

As you can see… I’m too cheap to buy ingredients to garnish


Black Bean Verde Enchiladas Recipe

From Leite’s Culinaria                                           This version serves 6


Black bean enchilada filling

  • Olive oil
  • 1 red onion,  chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • One 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Green chile sauce

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 jalapeños, minced (keep some seeds in if you like heat)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • One 15-ounce can vegetable or chicken stock or 2 cups homemade
  • 16 ounces (2 cups) light Daisy sour cream
  • One 8-ounce can fire-roasted mild green chiles
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste

For rolling and saucing the enchiladas

  • 6 Tam-X-Ico’s 100% Whole Wheat Tortillas
  • 8 oz  Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (absolutely use low fat if you can find it, my store didn’t have it available that day.  Please note that this will affect the fat content in a positive manner.)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish
  • Thinly sliced scallions
  • 2 limes, cut into 6 wedges


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F
  • Spray olive oil on a large  skillet to coat the surface and place it over medium heat. Sauté the onion until softened, 5 to 8 minutes.  Add the garlic, beans, chili powder, cumin, and salt, and cook until the beans are tender and the garlic is fragrant, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
  • For the sauce, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and jalapeños and cook until they are softened but not yet beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Still stirring, slowly add the stock in a steady stream. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer until the liquid has reduced and the sauce has become opaque, about 5 minutes. Let it cool slightly.
  • After sauce is cooled enough, transfer the sauce to a blender or food processor, add the sour cream, chiles, cumin, chili powder, salt, and cayenne, and puree until smooth.
  • To assemble the enchiladas coat the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with some of the sauce. Fill the tortillas with black bean spooning the mixture along the center of each tortilla. Top the filling with a spoonful of shredded cheese and a sprinkling of cilantro. Roll the sides of the tortillas over the filling and place them, seam side down, in the baking dishes.
  • Pour the remaining verde sauce evenly over the enchiladas and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake the enchiladas in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is beginning to brown. Garnish with the extra cilantro leaves and scallions and serve with the lime wedges.

Damage (1Enchilada): 411 Calories/37g carbs/17g fat/16g protein/7g fiber


Do you guys like Quinoa?

Who am I kidding, y’all are WAY HEALTHIER than I am!  I had a hard time with Quinoa the first time I tried it and I find that I like it better when it isn’t the main focus/ingredient in the dish.  This is my new favorite Quinoa recipe, Mexican style because this whole year has been Mexican themed for me so far.  Love it.

I love it so much that I made enormous amounts of sauteed fajita vegetables & the quinoa mixture.  So we’ll be eating this for awhile and I have no qualms about it.

BTW- that salsa brand is THE BEST.  All natural, so tasty and unique.  I love this kind and the green tomatillo, haven’t tried any other varieties yet but I have no doubts they will be incredible.

I got this idea from the Garden Grazer; I needed to switch up my turkey and cheese sandwich routine for something hot and satisfying for lunch.  You don’t need measurements, just throw together whatever you like in a fajita and a burrito and melt some cheese  on it.

Protein component:

  • Quinoa
  • Black beans
  • 1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp taco seasoning (Or about 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp dried oregano, salt & pepper)
  • Chicken or vegetable broth

Fajita Vegetable component:

  • White onion, sliced thinly
  • Green pepper, diced (I used 2)
  • Sliced mushrooms
  • 1tbsp taco seasoning
  • olive oil

Other add-ins are the salsa and cheese, or anything else you want to stuff in there 🙂

  1. First, cook quinoa according to the directions on the box.  I made 1/2 cup (all I had left from all my previous quinoa fails), and it has already filled 7 small tacos so far with a full tupperware to save (as seen above).  It will at least last us another 7.  Anyway.  Add black beans to the cooked quinoa, taco seasoning, and the diced tomatoes.  I also added a few splashes of chicken broth for some extra flavor.  Let it simmer while you’re sauteing the vegetables.
  2. Saute chopped onions, green peppers, and mushrooms with another tbsp of seasoning in olive oil until soft

The rest is just assembly!  For lunch/leftovers I just take the two containers out of the fridge and microwave it on my fajita sized tortilla in the microwave the with the cheese for 30 seconds, add salsa and you’re good to go.

Who else constantly and consistently overloads their tacos?  So much fell out after rolling this sucker up

MMMMM!  About three of these fill me up, and I reiterate that I always use the fajita size tortillas, they’re so small and cute and duh I can eat more if they are smaller 😉

Sometimes diet tips are true.

You know I never really understood the people that tell you that spicy food helps you lose weight, but I had two tiny tacos of this and I felt SO FULL.

This is my new favorite spicy, Mexican style recipe.  The chipotle garlic sauce adds so much depth and beautiful smoky flavor that separates it from the generic lime/salsa/cilantro profile that makes you think every Mexican dish contains the same ingredients stuffed into different starchy vehicles (I’m looking at you, Taco Bell).

The only thing is I hate shredding chicken, but I’ll get over it.  For once, I didn’t modify this recipe AT ALL, it was perfect in every way.  If you can’t handle spicy, add more sour cream to the sauce (maybe Greek yogurt if you’re concerned about health?  i don’t know anything don’t listen to me)…this was hotter than I expected, but welcomed.

I hope your weekend is treating you well – It’s wicked stormy here down on the west coast of Florida… I expect myself to eat copious amounts of cookies this weekend, since when I’m at home and have nothing to do I bake, bake, bake. *facepalm*.

Chicken in Chipotle Cream Sauce

from                                        Serves about 6


  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 a 7 oz can chipotle in adobo (whole peppers and sauce)
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 white or yellow onion, sliced
  • 8 oz white button mushrooms, sliced (I left them whole)
  • 1 teaspoon flour
  • 1/4 cup sour cream (I used light daisy, which is reflected in the nutrition facts)
  • Flour tortillas


  1. Combine chipotles and adobo sauce with garlic and milk in a food processor.
  2. Cook seasoned chicken breasts over medium heat in 1 tablespoon vegetable oil; remove to a plate and shred into big pieces.
  3. Add the other teaspoon of oil to the pan and saute onions and mushrooms, approximately 10 minutes.
  4. Return roughly shredded chicken to the pan and turn down the heat.
  5. Add the flour and stir for one-two minutes, then pour in the chipotle mixture. Increase the heat and bring to a boil; let the mixture simmer and reduce
  6. Turn off the heat and stir in the sour cream.  Serve in tacos, over salad, or even on a sandwich!

Damage (just the chicken & sauce): 431 calories/10g carbs/13g fat/43g protein/3g fiber

Queso Dip Mac & Cheese

Well lookie what I made.

Big ball of home made queso going into my pasta. I LIKE

I made queso for … what else…. mac and cheese!  I can’t get away from mac and cheese and I’m convinced I’ll never be able to try all of the different variations I have inspiration for before I die.

I made the sauce Sunday night simply because I am always ravenous when I get home from the gym and if I try and cook when I’m that hungry… my kitchen would look like a tornado blew through it and you’d find me licking cheese off the floor.

No bueno.  Also no bueno?  My husband’s comment in a sing song toddler voice about my first ever home made queso dip.

“It’s not like it’s the BEST ONE ever, Raychel.  Stop being obsessed with it.”

Thanks doting and appreciative husband of mine ❤  See what happens when I leave you for a week with nothing but a pantry and a stove (I promise you the only product of that environment would be omlettes and pb&j for the rest of the week).

Here is what you really want, the recipe for my new version of Mexican mac & cheese.   The website I got this inspiration from prepared it in a baked fashion with TWO CUPS of cheese sprinkled on top but I wanted to keep it under 50g of fat per serving, so I just made it the traditional way as a sauce.   Don’t pass out when you see the nutrition facts, you could serve this in smaller portions as the original recipe intended it for 8.  Also, there was no low fat cheddar at the store for some reason this time, so i had to use full fat.  This will probably shave about 5-10 g fat per serving off.

Queso Dip Mac & Cheese

Adapted from Picky Palate, Serves 6


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup pico de gallo
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onions
  • 1 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • One 10 ounce can Rotel tomatoes, mild
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 pound small pasta of your choice (I used Alma’s whole wheat)


  1. Place butter into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir to melt. Whisk in flour, salt and pepper for about 30 seconds until bubbly. Slowly whisk in chicken broth until smooth. Increase heat to high while whisking until thickened. Takes 3-5 minutes. Stir in cheese and salsa, turn off heat and set aside.
  2. Place 2 tablespoons olive oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Saute onions until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute. Add ground beef, salt and pepper, cooking until browned. Add tomatoes, cumin and lime juice, stir to combine.
  3. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and run under cold water
  4. Combine beef, queso sauce, and pasta and serve with sprinkled cheddar on top

Damage: 584 calories/49g carbs/30g fat/30g protein/6g fiber