Rice, Bean & Spinach Enchilada Bake

Anyone else out there with an embarrassing monthly grocery bill??

Don’t get me wrong – I like knowing we’re buying good food, and I think good food is worth it; but 1) I know it’s possible to spend less and 2) I love a good competition (even if it is just with myself). I also love the idea of putting money saved into a travel budget  -I’m looking at you, little island with clear blue water!

Challenge: To only spend half of what we would typically spend on food for the week, including all groceries, drinks, and restaurants.

We usually have an idea of what to make for 2-3 nights during the week and bank on leftovers for lunches – so thankfully this wasn’t unrealistic. The biggest difference in what sits in my kitchen this week vs. last week is the protein. I am primarily eating vegetarian this week, however, I ‘splurged’ on ground turkey to make some lentil & turkey burgers.

How am I feeling about this challenge so far? EXCITED! You know when you get in a rut and make the same stir fry or chicken dish every week? Well this will force you to re-think and get creative.

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And with that, here we have the first bean and rice dish for the week!

Bean, Rice & Spinach Enchilada Bake

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz Enchilada Sauce (Cookie & Kate) (you can buy 2 cans from the store if you don’t want to make it – but this was delicious!)
  • Corn tortillas (12 if you’re using the small ones, 5-6 if you’re using the larger ones)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 orange or yellow peppers, thinly sliced (for cost purposes, choose whichever pepper is cheapest)
  • 1.5 cups corn (I used frozen, but you can use canned or fresh)
  • 1 15 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1.5 cups brown rice, cooked
  • 1 plum tomato, diced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1.5 cups shredded cheese (I used monetary jack), divided
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

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Directions:

  1. Make your enchilada sauce ahead of time and pour it into a jar or other container and set aside.
  2. If you don’t have cooked rice already, go ahead and prepare that according to the package directions. I used Uncle Ben’s which only took 20 minutes.
  3. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 9×13 inch dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  4. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add onion, peppers and a dash of salt. Cook until soft (about 7 – 9 minutes).
  5. Stir in corn, black beans, rice, tomato, cumin, and chili powder. Allow flavors to come together for a few minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup of the shredded cheese, spinach, cilantro, lime juice, and salt/pepper to taste.IMG_0185
  6. Begin layering in your 9×13″ dish: First, spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of the pan. Then add a layer of tortillas follow by 1/3 of the vegetable mixture and  ~1/2 – 3/4 cup sauce. Continue layering tortillas, vegetables, & sauce until you are left with tortillas as the top layer. Sprinkle the top with the remaining 1 1/4 cups of cheese and bake for 20 minutes. Top with more chopped cilantro & serve!

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Hopefully all these rice and bean dishes will (literally) pay off soon!

Dreaming of that beach.

Cheers!

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