The Frugal Café | Photo credit: Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup"</a> | Creative Commons License,
Photo credit: Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup" | Creative Commons License,

Frugal Café Philosophy
Save more.
Spend wisely.
Use resources responsibly.
Laugh often.
Kindle passion in life.
Give back.









Frugal Café Site Search:



Phoenix Enchilada Casserole Bake

By Vicki McClure Davidson


Green bell peppers are a good source of vitamins and when in season, very thrifty. | Photo credit: 60 in 3,
Green bell peppers are a good source of vitamins and when in season, very thrifty. | Photo credit: 60 in 3,

Mexican food rules in the Phoenix area of Arizona (it actually rules in a lot of other places, too... deservedly so!) It's one of my favorite cuisines and is a wonderful way to get kids to eat more vegetables without them even realizing it. And it typically is amazingly inexpensive to prepare.

This is another DIY "meat helper" meal. Avoid buying those packaged boxes of "meat helper" meals (minus any actual meat, usually hamburger, sometimes chicken or pork, that you have to buy separately, thus adding to your cash outlay). Those babies are really EXPENSIVE. Check the cost per ounce when you're at the grocery store. About a quarter's worth of ingredients, with a huge markup. It's a staggering amount of money when you realize exactly what you're paying for and that there IS NO MEAT in the box.

Supposedly, these meat-helper products save you time and money... they're suppose to "help" you. That's the spiel, anyway. Don't you EVER believe it, and don't buy them.

They are so non-frugal compared to what you can prepare on your own and take about the same amount of time. Remember, DIY will save you money 99 times out of 100... especially in the kitchen. And using fresh or frozen vegetables in a dish will usually taste better than the dehydrated veggies that are in a meat-helper box.

This Phoenix Enchilada Casserole Bake uses corn tortillas, which can't be found in most meat-helper boxes. You've got to use corn tortillas, which are usually fairly cheap in most regions — I don't recommend that you substitute flour tortillas because they won't impart the same flavors to this dish.

Kids usually love Mexican food, and preparing this tortilla-veggies-chicken baked dish is not only extremely thrifty, nutritious, and fast, but is quite filling. Use any kind of salsa that your family likes, whether homemade or store-bought. You'll definitely get more lower-cost servings from this than with that expensive, manufactured meat-helper stuff.


Phoenix Enchilada Casserole Bake Recipe


Preheat oven to 400 deg. F.

Combine diced chicken, oil or shortening, chopped onion, and chopped bell pepper in a large skillet on medium heat. Cook until onions begin to brown. Stir the salsa, corn, black olives, ground cumin, salt, and black pepper into the mixture. Heat for another minute or two. If you're using cooked leftover chicken, you can add it with the salsa and other ingredients, as it doesn't need to cook as long as raw chicken.

In a 13- x 9-inch baking dish, arrange 6 of the corn tortillas. Spoon and spread half the chicken/vegetable mixture onto the tortillas, then spread half the grated cheese over the chicken mixture. Follow that by spreading half the sour cream over the mixture. Repeat with another layer of chicken/vegetable mixture, grated cheese, and sour cream. Sprinkle paprika over the mixture.

Cover the dish with foil. Bake for 40 min. or until heated through. Remove the foil after 30 minutes, bake remaining 10 minutes without the foil.

When the casserole is done, take it out of the oven and let it stand for about 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 4 to 6.

Note: You can substitute other leftover meats for the chicken; this is a terrific way to use up leftover turkey, pork, or beef. You can be creative and include additional vegetables in it and omit the meat.



Related Reading & Recipes:
Baby, It's Cold Inside: Freezer Tips for Stockpiling Your Food Bounty
Descoware: Cast Iron That Warms Up Your Kitchen... Descoware Collecting and Cleaning Tips
Descoware Stories: Markley Descorama Farm Kitsch Set, Descoware Flame Beanpot
Descoware Stories: The Saucepan and the Cork
Recipes for Awesome Arepas... Venezuelan Corn Cakes
Frugal Café Blog Zone: Memorial Day Edibles, Such As Grilled Ribs, Lemon-Lime Poppyseed Baby Cakes, Pulled BBQ Beef, Peach Shortcake, Creamy Chicken Taquitos, Banana Cinnamon Rolls, Greek Salad Pita, Piccata-Style Chicken & Rice, Vegan Flautas, Watermelon Rind Chutney, & More
Frugal Café Blog Zone: Fab Food Friday Fotos & Recipes: Sunday Chuck Roast, Chilaquiles Casserole, Asian Lentil Rice Wrap, Chocolate Streusel Banana Coffee Cake, Zucchini Gratin, Gluten-Free Walnut Apple Cake, Bacon & Leek Risotto, Mac & Cheese Nacho Bake, More Thrifty Recipes
Frugal Café's Savvy 16, Volume 3: 16 More Kitchen & Shopping Tricks to Save You Money & Time: Oiling the Pasta Pot, Slicing Eggplant, Frying Ground Beef, Cleaning Leeks, Preventing Tomato Stains, & More
Pasta Perfection: How to Cook Pasta Perfectly Every Time
Hearty and Cheap: Old-Fashioned Beef Stew Recipe
The Truth about Tomatoes
Beautiful Beans Bonanza: Yummy, Filling, Money-Saving Recipes for Beans
Tennessee Veggie Medley Supreme
Garlic Bowtie Noodles with Olives
Celebrity Recipes: Rachael Ray's Steak and Eggs Rancheros
Celebrity Recipes: Ann B. Davis's Yankee Doodle Macaroni and Cheese
Celebrity Recipes: Loretta Lynn's Red Bean Salad
Celebrity Recipes: Aretha Franklin's Holiday Meat Loaf
Celebrity Recipes: Trisha Yearwood's Chicken Pizza
Celebrity Recipes: Gregory Peck's Sweet-and-Sour Short Ribs
Celebrity Recipes: Giada De Laurentiis's Homemade Italian Sauce
Celebrity Recipes: Giada De Laurentiis's Watermelon with Watercress and Feta
Pesto, Salsa di Pomodoro Crudo, and Other Easy No-Cook Sauces for Hot Pasta: 12 Tantalizing, Thrifty Recipes & Preparation Tips
Frugal Café Blog Zone: Fab Food Friday Fotos and RecipesSweet & Sour Chicken, Chickpeas & Baby Spinach, Frosted Donuts, Orzo Salad, Fishball Soup, A Perfect Red Apple, Sausage Skillet, Frugal Recipes, & More
Frugal Café Blog Zone: Fab Food Friday Fotos: Special Christmas Eve Super Soups & Recipes Edition… Because Baby, It’s COLD Outside
Spicy Seafood Cocktail Sauce
Homemade Shake 'n Bake
Herbed Mustard Marinade
Three Frugal Marinara Sauce Recipes
Winging It: Three Hot Wings Sauce Recipes: Supreme Hot Wings, Hooters' Copy-Cat Hot Wings, & Honey Hot Wings
Two Amazing Alfredo Sauce Recipes
How to Make Salt-Free Herb/Spice Blends
Chefs' Cooking Secrets | Pepín-Style Potatoes, with Rachael Ray
Frugal Café Blog Zone: Fab Food Friday Fotos: Leftover Turkey Recipes, Taco Tuesdae, Chili Con Carne, Coffee Mousse Cake, Indonesian Tempeh with Green Beans, Apple Cinnamon Muffins, & More
Homemade Cream of Turkey Soup... Don't Waste That Carcass!
Frugal Café Blog Zone: Food Jungle Conquest: Diced Chile Peppers, Bargain Bin
Celebrity Recipes: Oprah Winfrey's Chocolate Strawberry Smoothie
Celebrity Recipes: Loretta Lynn's Crispy Fried Chicken
Celebrity Recipes: Rachael Ray's Chicken Cacciatore Stoup