Cauliflower Enchilada Casserole

Friday, February 3, 2012

For the past couple weeks I have been trying to "work" on collecting my recipes to create some sort of cookbook/recipe book for myself. Okay, I won't kid myself I have been working on this project not for a couple of weeks but for a couple of years. Okay, fine - it has been like 5 years... but anyhow, as I have been recently looking closer at my recipes I have found myself repeatedly thinking: " Oh wow, I need to make that again, and that and that. Oh I forgot about that recipe..." So, I thought rather than try to be creative and come up with all new recipes to make I should stick to making the family favorites as well as remake some of the great dishes that I almost forgot about. Almost.

Secondly, I thought, rather than work on coming up with new things to make I should work on simplifying some of the recipes I already have. I mean, who doesn't want meal time simplified? I sure do. Right now I am in need of dishes that I can make and clean up ahead of time, so that there aren't 400 dishes to do in the small window of time after dinner and before bath time. At the same time, I don't want to be doing 400 dishes ever, so I am looking to cut out steps (and dishes) and simplify. I also want dinners that provide leftovers so that I am not having to cook and think of something new everyday of the week.

With all that said, I decided a couple weeks ago to work on simplifying a newer family favorite - Cauliflower Enchiladas. Since there are quite a few steps in making these and the stress of the rolling the tortillas up without them breaking, along with the agony of getting the cooked enchiladas out of the casserole dish without them breaking (and yes I have made individual enchiladas in gratin dishes but that makes even more dishes), I thought an enchiladas casserole would be the way to go. So, I cut out a few steps and simplified my old recipe to create this same hearty and healthy meal. All the same flavors but in a different format. Plus it is best to make this ahead of time so that the flavors can meld, and it created lots of leftovers. Check, check and check.

I made a pot of black beans and a simple green salad for a satisfying dinner that can be repeated through the week (or weekend). This casserole is hearty enough to be served alone with a salad, yet also goes well with with rice and beans, whatever types you prefer.

Side Note: When making black beans I just now discovered that you can't add salt while the beans are cooking. This causes them not to cook. It took almost 3 hours for the black beans in my Black Bean Chili to become tender where I added salt. Last night it took only an hour for the beans (soaked overnight) to cook without the addition of salt until they were completely tender. Maybe you already knew this but it is news to me so I thought I would share.

Roasted Cauliflower Enchilada Casserole

Makes one 13 by 9 inch casserole, Serves 8

An adaptation of my Roasted Cauliflower Enchiladas –same flavors but a different format. The goal here was to simplify this dish by cutting out a couple of steps. I skipped cooking the sauce (it really didn’t need it), warming the tortillas and rolling them into enchiladas. This made for easier assembly and serving. The amounts here do not need to be exact, just approximate. The key here is to pace yourself while layering the casserole – don’t add all the sauce or cheese at the beginning so that there isn’t enough for the top.

2 heads cauliflower, cit into 1 inch pieces
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small white onion
fresh ground pepper
pinch of cumin
15 ounces fresh salsa (mild or spicy)
38 ounces canned tomato sauce (a combo of strained tomatoes, tomato sauce or canned diced tomatoes and their juices)
16-20 corn tortillas
10-12 ounces fresh grated jack cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. On 2 baking sheets, lined with parchment paper, toss the cauliflower with the olive oil, onion and cumin, season with salt and pepper and bake for about 25 minutes, tossing half way through, or until the onions and cauliflower are slightly caramelized. Let the cauliflower cool. Use a fork to slightly mash the cauliflower and onions together. Set aside

Combine the salsa and the tomato sauce.

To assemble the casserole grease a large (13 by 9 inch) baking dish with oil. Cover the bottom of the dish with a bit of the sauce. Cut one end of the tortillas so that you have a flat edge and layer the tortillas on top of the sauce so that the flat edge of the tortilla meets up to the side of the casserole dish. Cover the sauce completely with tortillas. It is okay if the tortillas overlap, and you can also cut the tortillas to fit in any gaps. Cover the tortillas with another layer of sauce. Place half of the cauliflower mixture on top and 1/3 of the cheese. Add a little more sauce and spread around with the back of the spoon. Repeat this same process: tortillas, sauce, cauliflower, cheese and sauce. Then top with a final layer of the tortillas; cover with the rest of the sauce and the remaining cheese. Press down the tortillas with the back of a spoon. Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 1 day. This helps the tortillas soften and the flavors to meld together.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cover the enchiladas with nonstick foil and bake for 15 minutes if at room temperature or 30 minutes if coming straight from the fridge. Uncover and bake for 15-20 minutes more or until the cheese is melted and the casserole is cooked throughout. Serve warm and top with avocado slices or guacamole.


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