The Best Baked Enchiladas

This month’s box of goodies from the lovely people over at Life Made Delicious was all about Old El Paso. This was fine by me, because I’m all about Old El Paso, and have been since before I was married. Tacos and nachos and salsa, oh my! My love of Mexican-inspired food has been embraced by my family and features heavily in our dinner rotation. We have Taco Tuesdays (Since long before the LEGO movie), and our Friday-homemade-pizza-and-various-appetizers-night usually includes nachos or some kind of salsa dip.

The box I received included three different Old El Paso kits, and a coupon for a free bag of their Touch of Philadelphia Mexicana Shredded Cheese. Our brief included links to some recipes that included the cheese and I decided to make the Baked Enchiladas and test them on my family. YOU GUYS. Hand to heart, everyone loved it and requested that it be included in our regular meal rotation. It’s so easy to make, and so, so tasty. You need to make these. Trust me.

INGREDIENTS:

1 lb (500g) lean ground beef
1 pkg (465 g) Old El Paso* Soft Taco Kit
1 cup (250 mL) Green Giant* Frozen NIBLETS* WHOLE KERNEL CORN
1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped green pepper or zucchini
2 cups (500 mL) Touch of Philadelphia Shredded Creamy Mexicana Cheese, divided
1 ½ cups (375 mL) Old El Paso™ Thick N’ Chunky Salsa or 1 can (14 oz/398 mL) tomato sauce
sour cream, if desired (I used some, because sour cream)
INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Heat oven to 375°F.
2. Brown beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally; drain. Stir in 1 cup (250 mL) water and seasoning mix (from kit). Cook 5 minutes. Stir in corn, pepper and 1 cup (250mL) of the cheese.

Cheesy Enchilada Stuffing
3. Combine contents of taco sauce pouch (from kit) and salsa (or tomato sauce). Pour 1 cup (250 mL) on bottom of 9×13-inch (23×33 cm) rectangular baking dish.
4. Place approximately 1/3 cup (75 mL) filling on each tortilla and roll up. Place seam side down in pan.
5. Pour remaining sauce mixture over tortillas and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Fre Cheese

 

6. Cover with foil and bake 20 to 25 minutes. Serve with sour cream if desired.

That’s the official recipe, but I made a few changes. We keep cans of the Niblets corn in our pantry, so I didn’t buy frozen corn. I am a huge fan of cilantro, so I used it as a garnish. I also baked it uncovered, because I like things to brown a bit, but it didn’t lose any of its moisture.

Angella Dykstra

I used the mild salsa in my box of fun instead of tomato sauce and it was quite mild. Next time, I’ll use the medium salsa and maybe add a few jalapenos, at least for my portion. The kids loved it the way I served it.

Here’s some good news for you who also love Mexican-inspired food and cheese. (Who doesn’t love cheese?) Old El Paso has a Free Cheese Promotion. Free cheese!

Here’s how it works:

1. Purchase a specially-marked package of Old El Paso
2. Cut out the coupon and use it when you purchase another specially marked Old El Paso Kit & Old El Paso Salsa. Then you get a FREE Package of Cheese to complete your meal.

Do it, friends. You won’t regret it.

Mountains

Forgive me, folks, for it’s been two weeks since my last blog post. I don’t know about you, but February seemed to whiz by, and then I spent the first week of March getting ready to fly up North to see my Mom and my sister. It’s been fifteen years since I was last in Kitimat, and that was to see my newborn nephew on a quick weekend trip. I spent the first thirteen years of my life in that small town and was curious to see how much had changed, and how much had stayed the same.

Spoiler alert: A lot has changed, and a lot has stayed the same.

The purpose of my sister and I flying in was to help my Mom go through boxes in the attic and the shed and purge/recycle what we could. In the process of going through everything we found a few treasures from the eighties.

Cabbage Patch Kids

(More on Instagram.)

It was a good week full of catching up, spending time with family (And meeting a cousin for the first time!), and meeting my Mom’s friends who are a big part of her life and who look out for her. I even managed to drive to Terrace to meet up with two friends I went to high school with in Rupert.

I’m so glad I went, and I’m also so glad to be home. I’ve never been away on my own for longer than a few days and a full week was a long time to be away from my family. And (OF COURSE), Emily came down with a double ear infection the day after I left. It was so hard to be so far away from her when all she wanted was for me to be with her. Sigh.

I’ll definitely go back up north, hopefully much sooner than fifteen years from now, but next time it will be a family road trip. The kids want to see where I grew up and I can’t wait to show them.

Happy Place

Life is busy, but it will be busy for the next thirty years or so. I’ve come to the realization that getting through the week/month only means that I’ll then have to make it through the next week/month. When one commitment ends, another takes its place, and so on and so forth. Discouraging? A little bit. Defeating? Nope, because we have a great life.

(I just typed out a whole story about how I made the kids understand how great they have it, after they made it clear how entitled they feel, but everything on the Internet lasts forever. I deleted the story, but if you know me in real life you’ve already heard it anyway.)

The moral of the story is that life is busy. Life is stressful. But life is good, and we are blessed beyond measure. We get to live in Canada and better yet, we get to live in the Okanagan. We get to swim in the summer and ski/snow shoe in the winer, and hike all year-round. We are healthy, and when we are not, we have health care. We have an amazing community who loves us and supports us. We have family who are a part of our daily lives, and family that see us when they can and pour into our kids.

We’re healthy and we’re happy and I’m so thankful for it all.

Love Is Messy

Emily has been an Artist for as long as she’s been able to move and create. She sings, she dances, and she draws me beautiful pictures, usually with an “I LOVE YOU MOM” caption. She draws with sidewalk chalk, she uses markers to colour in books, and she uses pencils to draw renditions of characters in the books she reads. She is a creative being and I love it.

On Sunday afternoon, Mr. Masters (Matthew is known as Mr. Matt to the kids in our church, so now that he’s working on his Masters for about forty hours (!) per week (!!) on top of working more than forty hours a week at the church) (All people who have worked at a church/been related to someone who works at a church know what I’m talking about)(ANYWAY, I’ve started calling him Mr. Masters instead of Mr. Matt)(Not that I call him Mr. Matt at home, because that would be weird)(I need to stop with the parenthesis) made the call to take a nap, while I made the call to go for a run with a friend.

When Mr. Masters woke up from his short siesta, he made his way downstairs to discover that our fair daughter had decided to make some paintings, using the splatter technique. She had put on an apron to make sure her clothes were kept clean. The paint she used was acrylic paint, and it was all over the floor, our couch, the iPad, and the coffee table. She likely splattered the cats as well, so their poop in the litter should be rainbow colored. Mr. Masters cleaned up the paint and told me all about the fiasco when I got home from my run. (He needs to be on Instagram, or at least take a photo so that I can share it when situations like these arise.)

Acrylicopocalypse aside, the canvas she painted is beyond amazing. One person threw out “Messy Love” and, yes. Love is messy.

So is acrylic paint.

(I love her so very, very much.)

On top of the mountain

The winter weather where we live is not the stereotypical “Canada weather” that our dear Americans refer to. We live at the top of the Sonoran desert, which comes all of the way from California. We live in an area that happens to get some snow down below, with more snow in the mountains. We usually hover around the freezing mark from November through February, with the occasional cold snap of twenty below.

This winter has been off the rails. We had an epic snowstorm that saw us without power for four days out of seven, which was delightful (hashtag sarcasm). Then the snow melted, and froze (and melted and froze and so on). We had a brown (no snow) Christmas in the first time in at least ten years. At the tail end of Christmas break we were hit with yet another snowstorm. It broke records, which is great for weather geeks, but not so great for my back. Shovelling wet snow is less workout, more unnecessary pain.

Now, we’re experiencing spring in February. The East Coast and the North Coast have been battered by the kind of snow we saw (twice!) this winter, but here in the Okanagan the golf courses are opening and I’m running in capris and t-shirts. It’s crazy, and weird, and kind of awesome, global warming conspiracies aside.

Prairie Valley

So, who’s coming to visit?

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