Beef Enchilada Skillet

I love to collect recipes.  I have hundreds of cookbooks (an ever-growing collection that my husband claims borders on obsession). I seek out cookbooks everywhere we go – flea markets, antique stores, used book stores – even the grocery store checkout lines. I read my cookbooks the same way some people read a novel – from cover to cover. Generally speaking; unless it’s a multi-step, complicated recipe with techniques I’ve never tried before; I tend to read through a new recipe and then tweak it a bit. Most of what I “create” are actually inspired by others, prodding me ever forward to create a rendition which reflects my unique style. Like most cooks in this modern age, my quest for new revelations in the kitchen is not limited to those bound in books – the internet is a ocean of tantalizing dishes just waiting to be discovered. My inspired creations are then added and saved to my online stockpile of cookbooks on yumprint (over 3,000 recipes thus far).  Most of my online collection is comprised of recipes created by others that have inspired me to try new things, to reach new heights and learn through trial and error. That said, I invite – no make that encourage – you do the same with anything you like. In my humble opinion, recipes are designed to evolve with each individual, taking on new depth and flavors as they are joyfully passed along.

Recently I was inspired (by necessity mind you) to tweak a simple one-skillet dish I stumbled upon while perusing the recipe collection at 99cooking.com. The original recipe wasn’t complicated. I liked it just the way it was. Simple, straight forward, flavorful and perfect for a busy weeknight meal.  So I added the dish to my weekly menu plan (one of the features I love so much in yumprint – the ability to create menus and shopping lists from that).

In our house, we have our assigned “duties” when it comes to food preparation.  Mine is to create and execute a weekly meal plan.   This includes creating the shopping list for the week.  My husband’s contribution to the “creative” process is to take that shopping list, rummage through the pantry; refrigerator and freezer, marking off the ingredients we have on-hand.  That way we buy only what we need.  I bring this up because the recipe I am about to share called for “Mexican Hot Chili” seasoning.  I love my husband dearly, but he’s not necessarily the  best person to check our spices.  We had chili powder, so he marked it off the list, not realizing that there is a difference.  When it came time to prepare dinner, I realized we didn’t have the correct chili seasoning, so I improvised.  This improvisation resulted in an enchilada sauce that was HOT!!!  So if you like it hot, use the notes at the bottom of the recipe.  Or make up your own . . .

Beef Enchilada Skillet

1 1/4 pounds lean ground beef
1 cup uncooked minute rice
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (more if you like)
1/4 cup chopped green onion

Enchilada Sauce

3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoon Hot Mexican-Style Chili Powder (by McCormick)*
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon cocoa
1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon oregano
1 can (8 oz.) Hunts Tomato Sauce (plain)
3 cups water

Brown the meat in a large skillet. Drain off any fat.

While the meat is browning, make the enchilada sauce. In a bowl, mix the dry ingredients using a wire whisk to blend well. In a medium sauce pan, add 1/2 cup water and dry spices. Whisk until smooth. Add tomato sauce and remaining water. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until sauce thickens, about 8 minutes.

Add the rice and about half of the enchilada sauce to the cooked beef. Cook over medium heat until the rice is cooked, about 8 minutes. Add more enchilada sauce as needed to keep moist.

Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the mixture and lower the heat to prevent rice from burning. Cover and cook until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.

Sprinkle with the chopped green onion and serve. If desired, top with a dollop of sour cream.

* NOTE:  To replace 3 tablespoon Hot Mexican-Style Chili Powder, I used 1 tablespoon each: Chili Powder, Chipotle Powder & Cayenne Powder.  Next time I’ll use a little less Cayenne Powder – this blend was SUPER hot!  My guys loved it, but then they like to each roasted jalapeno peppers, so they aren’t exactly shy when it comes to spicy foods. I thought it was a little over the top in the heat department.

On a closing note, the enchilada sauce was super easy to make.  I plan to play with it a bit – maybe use the sauce to create a chicken dish (similar to a Mole).  Like I said in the beginning, recipes are a source of inspiration, meant to deviate from as one sees fit.  When I do make my chicken dish, I’ll be sure to share.

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