20 minute dinner: Instant Enchiladas

I'm the only one in my family who likes enchiladas, so I'm not liable to cook this traditionally time-consuming dish for dinner. BUT I am a fiend for using up leftovers, and I love to eat something warm and nourishing for lunch. In fact, I'm eating this right now. Here's my super-quick recipe, open to endless interpretation:


Corn tortillas
Refried beans, bean dip, chili, leftover cooked meat, beans, or vegetables
Shredded cheese
Prepared salsa (I like Emerald Valley Mild)
Optional: sliced, pitted olives; sour cream; cilantro; sliced green onions

Fill the tortillas with whatever you've got on hand. I used Trader Joe's Smoky Black Bean Dip, but you can used leftover grilled meat or seafood, cooked whole beans, refried beans, or even chili. Add a bit of shredded cheese, then fold the tortilla in half and lay in a baking dish. Okay to overlap, and don't worry if the tortillas break; they'll get covered in sauce anyway.

Cover the whole megillah with salsa. Sprinkle more shredded cheese on top, along with some olives and green onions if you've got them. Cover the pan with foil and heat till steaming — about 30 minutes in a moderate oven. (You could also cover with wax paper and heat the enchiladas in the microwave, but a conventional oven heats more evenly.) When hot, garnish with sour cream and cilantro, and serve to your appreciative family.

More 20 minute dinners:


  1. Mike says

    Infant enchiladas? Mmmm. The Empire is pleased. Now get over here little baby and GET IN MY TUMMY.

  2. says

    So if it takes 30 minutes in a moderate oven, then do we need to use an immoderate oven to make it a 20 minute dinner?

    It does look like a great recipe, with or without the use of time dilation techniques.

  3. Parent Hacks Editor says

    Jason: Duh. How about this: put it in the oven for 20 minutes and eat it lukewarm?

  4. Karina says

    I usually have everything ready on hand before I put it together: leftover chicken, mashed beans, shredded cheese, guacamole (mash some avocado and mix with diced onions and parsley, a little lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper) or just some plain diced avocado, salsa ( diced onions and tomatoes mixed with cilantro or parsley, seasoned with lemon juice, olive oil, s+p), sour cream and hard white grated cheese (which I’m not sure of the equivalent in the States). Anyway, just lightly moisten the tortillas and heat BRIEFLY on a skillet, turn around with a spatula and start piling beans, chicken and cheese on top, top with another tortilla and flip over so everything heats up and cheese melts. As soon as that happens transfer to a plate and add avocado, salsa, sour cream and grated cheese, and maybe some hot sauce. Yummy! (I’m sorry if I made it sound complicated, but it really is very easy, especially if you set everything beforehand).