The Seasoned Franciscan - Cooking Joyfully

Enchilada Casserole

By Vicki Lopez-Kaley (Meatless) on Monday, March 20th 2023

For sauce:

3 C ready-made Enchilada Sauce OR ...
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 C diced white onion, divided
2 small garlic cloves, diced
1 dried chipotle or Ancho chile pepper, stemmed
11/2 T chili powder
1 1/2 T dried oregano, Mexican, if available

For Enchiladas:
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
16 corn tortillas (5"-6")
2 C frozen peppers, any color, diced
2 C frozen corn
2 C shredded mild cheddar, Colby Jack or Monterey Jack cheese, divided


  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  • If making homemade Enchilada Sauce, combine tomatoes, 1 cup onion, garlic, chile, chili powder, oregano, cumin and salt in a blender; puree on high until smooth, about 1 minute OR use bottled Enchilada sauce.
  • Spread 1/2 cup sauce in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Layer 4 tortillas over the sauce. Top with 1/2 cup peppers, 1/2 cup corn, 1/2 cup of cheese and 1/4 cup of the remaining onion. Repeat the layers twice. Top with the remaining tortillas, peppers, corn and onion. Spread the remaining sauce on top.
  • Coat a large piece of foil with cooking spray and cover the baking dish tightly. Bake the enchiladas for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and sprinkle on the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.
  • Continue baking until the cheese is melted and the edges are starting to brown, 15 to 20 minutes longer.

Homemade enchilada sauce can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Label it well and make a freezer “pantry list” to remind you it’s there for next time!

An easy meatless Enchilada Casserole with a side of refried beans offers protein and veggies! This dish from Eating Well (pictured above), uses convenient, vegetables frozen at their peak of flavor and nutrients! I discovered organic veggies and fruits grown locally in my grocer’s organic freezer section. Look where you shop!

Organic products (produce, grains, dairy, meat) cost a bit more, but are an investment in the future of the environment and human health. At the recent Marbleseed Organic Farming Conferency (formerly MOSES), I bought a pass to visit just the exhibits on the last day. The exhibitor from Sno Pac Foods in Caledonia, MN. was excited to talk about their frozen fruits and vegetables, locally grown and widely distributed. This SE Minnesota company founded by JP Gengler has been organic for over 70 years, out of concern "for both the health of the people who are eating his (Gengler's) products, as well as being a good steward to the land we farm" as noted on the Sno Pact Foods website. When you can’t grow and process garden, store or farmer’s market produce, there are other organic options.

FSPA support their own organic garden and ethical use of the land on Saint Joseph Ridge. FSPA also supports the Logan Northside Neighborhood Garden to honor the earth and its people. We can vote for Mother earth with our forks, our funds and as advocates for good food products and policy.

Meaning of "Organic:" According to dietitian Sarah Brandt of the La Crosse Tribune (3.15.23), "Foods that carry the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) organic seal are produced without any synthetic fertilizers, growth hormones, artificial preservatives, flavors or colors. Organic foods also do not contain any GMOs (genetically modified organisms). Farms and food producers must be inspected by the USDA to confirm their organic status." Within the label "organic" there are various levels: "'100% Organic:' - The product is completely organic or made of only organic ingredients, 'Organic' - At least 95% of the ingredients are organic, 'Made with organic ingredients' - At least 70% organic ingredients; these products do not qualify for a USDA organic seal." It takes effort to be an informed consumer, but it's worth it.

An Indigenous farmer's perspective on the term "organic"

Another discovery boat Marbleseed's book exhibit The Color of Food: Stories of Race, Resilience and Farming quotes a North Carolina Cherokee farmer named Kevin Welch. Kevin works with the Cherokee Center for Food and the Cherokee Seed Bank. He says, "We use the term 'best management practices.' We don't use the term 'organic.' Organic is a government-produced word. Labeling your stuff organic is what people do to sell. Commercial growers use the word for marketing. But for a lot of small growers, we can't afford not to be 'organic.' Have you seen the prices of all those chemicals? We just plant complementary plants; we use pepper spray; we make our own compost. This is just wise and the best thing to do good for your plans and the environment." Sounds to me a like JP Gengler!

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yicuelud Says:
10/29/2023 6:23am

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