Sunday, August 14, 2011

Baked Pinto Beans, Enchilada Style

I was trying to think of cute or clever ways I could introduce this post, but I think I'm a bit distracted with some "Back to School Jitters."  For a few blissful years (since graduating beyond my schooling myself), I had been removed from such anxiety but tomorrow, I am beginning (to attempt) to homeschool my oldest who will be starting Kindergarten.  Wish me luck, say a little prayer and have patience (for anyone who might actually be reading) with me while I add another hat to my collection! : )
On the food front...

It is strongly likely that I sang the praises of Mark Bittman's recipes before this particular post.  In fact, I am remembering mentioning his cookbook, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, in the Black Bean Burgers post.  Anyway, I am back at it.  I have gotten really excited over several of his recipes this week and wanted to share my take on his Baked Pinto Beans, Enchilada Style.

I don't think this recipe would have jumped out at me on its own, but I'm so glad I found it.  I was trying to use up leftovers and really stumbled upon recipe gold.  I would even serve this as party food--even though it's a bit humble, it was simple to prepare (can even be done ahead of time) and is fun to customize.  Serve it in tortillas topped with shredded cabbage, diced avocado, sour cream and hot sauce (as Mark Bittman says, " other words, the works!").

Baked Pinto Beans, Enchilada Style
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups favorite salsa or canned enchilada sauce (*See Note)
4 cups pinto beans (**See Note)
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup Monterrey Jack cheese, cubed (or Cheddar or Colby Jack...)
1 cup crushed tortilla chips (great use for the broken ones left at the bottom of the bag)
1/2 cup crumbled Feta cheese (or Queso Fresco)
Fresh chopped cilantro for garnish
Tortillas (click on the link for a recipe for homemade ones, if you like!)
desired toppings: sour cream, hot sauce, shredded cabbage, diced avocado, etc.

Instructions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Grease a glass 9x13 baking dish with olive oil.  Spread salsa or enchilada sauce over bottom of dish.  Top with beans in an even layer.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Spread cubes of cheese over bean layer, pressing them slightly down into the beans.  Cover with crushed tortilla chips and sprinkle the feta cheese over top.  Bake at 400 for 20-30 minutes or until mixture is bubbly and tortilla chips begin to brown.  Serve in warm tortillas with desired garnishes.

*Note on Salsa: I used a small can of green enchilada sauce and used jarred salsa to make up the rest
**Note on Beans: You can make your own from dried--it's very easy, really!  Here's a recipe or you can follow the instructions on the package.  Otherwise, use two 15 oz. cans, rinsed and drained.

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