Shredded Beef Enchiladas

Tender, shredded beef with homemade red enchilada sauce.

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When it comes to Mexican food, we usually stick with tacos… because they’re easy right!!  But, sometimes when we’re in the mood for something more “authentic” I gravitate towards enchiladas.  Sometimes ground beef or chicken with white sauce (I’ll post those soon!) or ground beef with red sauce… BUT, when I have a slab of meat in the freezer that needs to be used, I make these bad boys.

This red sauce… so easy and SO much better than the stuff in cans, can you say sodium city!  Even in restaurants, red enchilada sauce is pretty salty, which can overpower the rest of the dish… in my opinion, this sauce has the perfect balance of salt and spice, but, if you like it saltier, kick it up a notch with some salt-free seasoning and you’ll be good to go.  The amount of sauce this recipe makes is just enough to make the dish moist so you don’t have dry tortilla shells but not enough to be sloppy.  If you’re like my hubby, you can make half more or double more so you can slop up the extra sauce with tortilla chips.

Shredded Beef Enchiladas

For the shredded beef:

  • 1 ½ – 2 lb. bottom round cut of beef
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
  1. Place beef in a crock pot.  In a small bowl, mix together soy sauce, lime juice and spices and pour over meat.  Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.
  2. With 2 forks, shred the beef into small pieces and then stir to mix in the juices.
  3. Turn the heat off crock pot and cover.

For the enchilada sauce:

  • 2 tbsp. canola oil
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 4 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp. dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp. cumin
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  1. Heat the oil over medium-high and whisk in the flour, cooking for 1 minute.
  2. Add the spices and slowly pour in the chicken broth, whisking until smooth.
  3. Simmer over medium heat until thickened, for 15 minutes, whisking occasionally.
  4. Remove from heat and set aside.

For the enchilada filling:

  • 2 tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 small white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 tsp. instant garlic
  • 3 cups shredded cheese
  • 8 large flour tortillas
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro (optional)
  • Shredded beef from above
  1. In a large saute pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Stir in onion and bell pepper.
  2. Saute for 15 minutes, until veggies are tender.  Add garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add the meat and juices from the crock pot to the pan and stir to combine.

Assemble the enchiladas:

  • Do an assembly line here… Tortillas in front, sauce behind to the left, meat to the right of the sauce, cheese to the right of meat and pan to the right of that….
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9×13 pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  • On a sheet of paper towel, place one tortilla at a time.
  • Spread with 2 tbsp. of enchilada sauce, 1/8th of shredded beef and a big pinch of cheese.
  • Roll up tightly and place in the pan, rolled end side down.
  • Repeat with the remaining tortillas and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese and cilantro, if using.
  • Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove foil and cook an additional 5 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly.
  • Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes:

  • Bottom round is perfect for crock pot meals because it’s a tougher cut of meat so cooking it long tenderizes it – if you want to make the shredded beef quicker, use a different cut of meat, chuck steak would be good.  Cook, covered in a large stock pot for an hour and a half.
  • To get close to the same amount of filling for these, I spread the meat in the pan and pat it down.  Using a butter knife “slice” the meat into 8 “pie pieces”… nifty huh 🙂
  • Sometimes I like to add a small can of rinsed black beans to the meat mixture.
  • I love eating mine with my favorite guacamole and sour cream.
  • You can make this sauce ahead of time and store in the fridge for 3 days or freeze for 1 month.

Total Time:  4-8 hours     Servings:  8

Estimated Calories per Serving – based on 8 servings – 590.

Pasta Alfredo

Creamy Alfredo sauce served over tender pasta.

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Pasta (insert your favorite pasta here!) Alfredo… Fettuccine Alfredo, etc… Equal to, if not better than what you get at your favorite Italian restaurant and less calories to boot, I’m sold!

The very first time I had Fettuccine Alfredo I was probably 18 and had it at a restaurant in a fancy hotel downtown.  It was so good but it also made me realize I probably just ate more than half the calories I should have for the day in one meal – yikes!  I told myself I’d only eat it once or twice a year since I was pretty lactose intolerant on top of that anyways!  Once I started cooking on my own and for my family, I vowed to make it just as good, with less calories and I would pop a Lactaid pill first 😉

When the kids were little we used to call this “fancy mac & cheese” because I would make it with smaller noodles like bow-tie or macaroni so it was easy for them to eat –  and it was cheap and quick to make when there were 8 mouths to feed – literally could get this to the table in about a half hour and I always had everything on hand to make it. Now that we’re all grown up, I make it a little “fancier” by adding chicken or shrimp and a veggie – usually peas or asparagus, or a side of broccoli.  However you serve it – I’m sure you’ll enjoy and you won’t feel like you just ate a cow afterwards 🙂

Pasta Alfredo 

  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. instant garlic
  • 4 tbsp. flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. chicken bouillon
  • 1 cup reserved pasta water
  1. Cook 1 lb. of your favorite pasta according to directions, drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.
  2. Return pasta to pot and set aside.
  3. In a separate sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat.
  4. Add instant garlic, cook for 30 seconds and whisk in flour until smooth.
  5. ¼ cup at a time, whisk in milk until each pour thickens and starts to bubble.  Once you have 1 cup in, pour in the remaining milk and continue cooking until thickened, about 5 minutes.
  6. Whisk in parmesan, pepper, garlic powder and chicken bouillon.  With heat on medium, continue to heat sauce until very thick, about 5 minutes, whisking a couple times every minute.
  7. Add the reserved pasta water, increase heat to high and whisk until sauce is smooth about 2 minutes.
  8. Pour sauce over your prepared pasta and toss over medium heat until pasta is coated and sauce thickens a little more, about 5 minutes.

Recipe Notes:

  • It’s important to use the pasta water – so don’t omit it!  The starch in the water and the fat from the butter and cheese emulsifies into the super smooth sauce you want that coats your pasta just right.
  • To save the pasta water, set your colander over a 2 or 4 cup liquid measuring cup while you drain.
  • We like our sauce pretty garlicky, adjust yours accordingly with the garlic powder.
  • I usually use 1% milk in this recipe, but fat-free actually works well too!

Prep Time:  10 minutes     Total Time:  30 minutes     Servings:  8

Estimated Calories per Servings – based on 8 servings – 400.  Based on 1% milk, regular grated Parmesan cheese and 2 oz. pasta per serving.