Healing Kitchen

Cheese Enchiladas

We have to confess, when we received this recipe from Kari Kroack of Denver, Colorado, we were a little concerned about being able to give it a makeover. To begin with, there's a certain level of expectation that the name "Cheese Enchiladas" brings with it. We knew we had to make it taste a lot like the original. But we also have a rule for Recipe Makeovers. It isn't just about subtracting the bad things, it's about adding good things. We made a couple of false starts but in the end we finally nailed it.

First of all we cut the cheese by more than half (it went from 24 ounces to 10). To compensate for the missing cheese, we added white beans: a similar sense of richness and texture that would help fool the palate into thinking there's more cheese than there really is...not to mention the nutrients that beans bring to the table (so to speak). Then we substituted a homemade enchilada sauce for the store-bought version in the original recipe. This reduced the total sodium level of the dish (most canned enchilada sauces are brimming with salt), but it also gave us the opportunity to add some carrots to the sauce (along with the beta-carotene they contain). The carrots get pureed along with the tomatoes; we're pretty sure only Bugs Bunny would know they were there. Finally, we eliminated the can of sliced olives that was included in the original recipe; the olives only contributed sodium and fat to a dish that even in its slimmed-down version is not exactly a diet dish. For anyone who misses that extra salt hit and wishes the olives were still there, we would suggest sprinkling the top of the dish with some minced sun-dried tomatoes, pickled jalapeno peppers, or diced mild green chilies.

Dietary fiber (g)
Total fat (g)
Saturated fat (g)
Cholesterol (mg)
Sodium (mg)
Beta-carotene (mg)


     1 teaspoon olive oil  3 large carrots, quartered lengthwise and very thinly sliced  1 can (15 ounces) crushed tomatoes  1 large onion, quartered  2 chipotle peppers in adobo  1 pickled jalapeno pepper  1/2 teaspoon salt  12 corn tortillas  1 can (19 ounces) white beans, rinsed and drained  10 ounces Monterey jack cheese, shredded  1 can (4-1/2 ounces) mild chopped green chilies
1. In large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add carrots and 1/3 cup water and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until tender.

2 . In food processor or blender, combine tomatoes, onion, chipotles, jalapeno, salt, carrots and any liquid in the skillet. Puree. Return puree to skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes over medium heat until thick and no longer raw tasting.

3. Preheat oven to 350°F. With a potato masher or back of a spoon, mash the beans. Spoon 1/2 cup of sauce into bottom of 7" x 11" glass baking dish. Dip both sides of each tortilla briefly in sauce. Spread beans down the middle of each tortilla. Sprinkle half the cheese and all of the green chilies over the beans. Roll tortillas up.

4. Place filled tortillas, seam-side down in baking dish. Spoon remaining sauce over tortillas. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.

5. Cover and bake 25 minutes or until piping hot and bubbly. Makes 6 servings

Author: the Healing Kitchen staff
Date Published: 06/19/2000
> Printer-friendly Version