I used to be able to make enchiladas with a mild canned enchilada sauce, but lately that hasn’t worked out and HH can’t take more than two or three bites and he’s done – too spicy. I don’t think it’s just him because even though I think they taste good, I have to admit they are a bit spicier than I might choose – if I’m breaking a sweat while eating them they are too spicy.
Anyway, I was talking to Anna about this a few weeks back and she said, “What about your Grandma’s enchiladas?” I had forgotten about them. I have to confess I don’t really remember Grandma Helen making them, but I remember Anna making them. Anna said that Grandma Helen’s enchiladas were one of five “recipes” or meals she had to take lessons from my grandmother in order to cook them properly for my dad – homemade tacos also one of the five.
Knowing that I had Grandma Helen’s recipe box, I started thumbing through her recipes when I got back to the Diner and viola! The enchilada recipe card! This card is just like I like them - pre-seasoned, written in pencil in my grandmother’s handwriting with notes in pen, and the big batch recipe if needed.
Well, last night was Grandma Helen’s enchilada night at the Diner. I constructed them as best I could from a somewhat ledge able recipe card (probably older than I am!) that leaves a lot of room for error. They were not as familiar as I was constructing them, but worth a try since they were Daddy’s favorite. I simply told HH that I was trying a new recipe, he said, “Oh boy! I get to be the guinea pig again.” When the timer went off and I opened the oven, the memories came flooding back! The smell of these enchiladas was as familiar as though Anna (or my grandma) had cooked them just yesterday, and it’s probably been 15 - 20 years or more since I have smelled these enchiladas.
HH and I sat down to test them. HH loved them! They were the best enchiladas ever! Now remember, I’ve cooked Paul Deen’s enchiladas, a version of my own enchiladas, and those fabulous mole enchiladas – but these, according to HH, are the best. I told him they were my dad’s favorite; he looked at me and said, “Your dad and I would have gotten along really well.” Yes, they would have.
Grandma Helen’s Enchiladas
(Slightly modified for today’s cooking and Holly’s Diner)
1 package of 10 corn tortillas
1 lb ground beef, seasoned to taste (Worcestershire sauce, steak seasoning, ancho chili powder)
2 cans Hormel Chili no beans
1 cup water
½ an onion, diced
A grated box full of cheddar cheese
In a pan combine Hormel chili and water, heat. In a separate pan brown and season ground beef.
Form an assembly line of tortillas, chili, ground beef, onions, cheese, and rectangular baking pan.
Dip one tortilla in chili, turn over so both sides are wet then place in baking pan. Scoop in some ground beef, sprinkle of diced onions and pinch of cheddar cheese and fold over tortilla with fold side down in pan. Repeat for all tortillas.
Pour remaining chili sauce over enchiladas, top with remaining onions and cheese. Put in oven for 35 minutes at 350º. Serve hot.