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Easiest Cheese Enchiladas Recipe (Freezer Friendly)

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Cheese Enchiladas are quick and easy to prepare, but they taste like something special. They are a delicious, meatless meal you can make in a snap, freezer-friendly and even worthy of packing for work or vacation.

Cheese Enchiladas | Life as Mom

It was a busy weekend, so I didn’t spend Sunday afternoon prepping lunches for the week like I normally do. But, I was still able to send a stack of black boxes with my husband to work, packed with one of our favorite meals: Cheese Enchiladas!

You see, I did myself a favor a few weeks ago when I made these enchiladas for dinner. I made some extra lunch-size pans and stashed them in the freezer. Woo hoo! Wife of the Year, right there.

But seriously, that’s the trick to living a richer life, planning things in advance and doing a little work on the front end, so you can reap big rewards, even something as simple — yet delicious! — as a tray of homemade Cheese Enchiladas to send to work with your husband.

This year I’ve been working toward serving more meatless meals. Occasionally opting out of meat can be great for your budget as well as lessen wear and tear on the environment. And require you to grocery shop less often!

That’s a fringe benefit I’ve discovered. I don’t worry so much when the freezer holds few proteins, I just make a meatless meal!

Years ago when we went to one income, I read Miserly Moms by Jonni McCoy; it’s a great book to get you thinking how to save on food costs. One of her suggestions was to serve a meat-less meal once a week. We’ve done that intentionally for over 20 years now, and we’re just fine.

My children are self-professed carnivores, and it can be hard for them to take — at times. In lean seasons, we’ve gone meatless 6 out of 7 nights. But, we have several regular meals to which they have just become accustomed: Beans and Rice, Bean Tostadas, Pasta with Marinara Sauce, Vegetable Fried Rice, and these Cheese Enchiladas.

Cheese Enchiladas for the Win!

How to make this good and cheap:

Here are some of the strategies you can use to make this Cheese Enchiladas recipe more economical:

  • Stock up on ingredients when they are on sale. The ingredients in these Cheese Enchiladas are all pretty cheap. All the same, stock up when you see a good sale on cheese, tortillas, black olives, or canned enchilada sauce.
  • Shop at Costco or ALDI. When I did my big grocery store showdown, I learned that those two stores have the best price for a lot of the things I buy, plus they sell all the ingredients needed for this recipe. I LOVE one-stop recipes.
  • Make your own enchilada sauce. Have you ever read the can of enchilada sauce? Even Trader Joe’s brand has a ton of ingredients, many of which I cannot pronounce. No worries; Enchilada Sauce is super easy to make yourself.

How I make this recipe easy:

This Cheese Enchiladas recipe really couldn’t be easier than it is, but having the right kitchen tools can really make your time in the kitchen more enjoyable. Over time, I’ve honed my collection so that they are perfect for my needs.

Here are the tools that I use for this recipe:

And some ingredients short-cuts:

  • If I don’t make my own sauce, I use Las Palmas sauces. It’s my favorite commercial sauce.
  • Shredded cheese and sliced olives make your kitchen time much quicker and easier. Costco has the best price for shredded cheese, even better than the block, so why not?

Freezer-friendly tip:

Since this is one of our favorite budget meals, it’s easily a crowd pleaser to pack on vacation with us. I just load the frozen pans into the cooler and dinner is ready to slide in the oven when we get to our destination.

If two pans are too much for one dinner at your house, freeze the other pan for another night or your next weekend away. You can also divvy them up into smaller containers to take to work. They easily reheat in the microwave.

5 from 1 vote
Cheese Enchiladas
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 
Cheese Enchiladas are quick and easy to prepare, but they taste like something special. They are a delicious, meatless meal you can make in a snap.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Servings: 8
Author: Jessica Fisher
Ingredients
  • vegetable oil for frying such as olive or avocado oil
  • 2 dozen corn tortillas
  • 3 1/2 cups red enchilada sauce or make your own
  • 5 cups grated jack and/or cheddar cheeses
  • sliced black olives and scallions optional
Instructions
  1. Grease two 9×13-inch baking dishes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a small fry pan, heat 1 inch of frying oil. Fry the tortillas in the hot oil until leathery, but still pliable. Drain on paper towels.

  3. Spread a small amount of sauce across the bottom of each baking dish. Reserve 2 cups of cheese for topping. Place a small handful of cheese down the center of each tortilla, roll and place seam side down in greased baking dish. Pour the sauce over the tops of rolled tortillas.

  4. Sprinkle the remaining cheese as well as olives and onions over top. Bake in 350F oven until heated through and cheese is melted.
Recipe Notes

To freeze: wrap, label, and freeze prior to baking. To serve, bake according to recipe instructions, adding 5 to 7 minutes if baking from frozen.

You can also package the enchiladas into smaller, microwaveable dishes to pack for work lunches. You can cook the enchiladas in the microwave for 2-3 minutes for an individual serving.

Originally published April 24, 2009. Updated April 16, 2018.

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Comments

  1. Christy@MercyEveryMorning says:

    Your ideas look great! We don’t do meatless, as my dh doesn’t want to. But he does love Mexican food, so maybe I could get away with these dishes. 🙂

  2. I am looking to do more meatless meals for our family so this is AWESOME! I can’t wait to see all the great ideas!

  3. Hoosier Homemade says:

    Those look really good! Thanks for hosting!
    ~Liz

  4. We try to have a meatless dish each week, too. Sometimes it's as simple as macaroni & cheese or cheese pizza. Other times, I go to the trouble of making a lentil or bean dish. The kids are used to my strange meals.

  5. Katie @ goodLife {eats} says:

    We try to do meatless once a week. One of our long time favorites are Spinach and Mushroom Quesadillas with Pepper Jack Cheese. I serve it with guacamole for dipping. For sides we either have black bean and corn salad or spanish rice.

  6. what a great recipe swap! for those of you who do it for frugality, an added bonus is nutrition. legumes (beans and lentils) are very nutrient dense, an execllent source of protein and other antioxidants! 3 cups of beans are recommended per week by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans! make a pot of beans every week and eat them warm one night then save the rest to rinse and put on green and pasta salads. or puree them and add fresh/roasted garlic and other spices for bean dip.

  7. my favorite is just simply rice, black beans, and rotel.

  8. Hoosier Homemade says:

    Sorry about the ham, I wasn’t thinking it was included in the recipe.
    I took it off.
    ~Liz

  9. Can’t wait to check these all out!

  10. Together We Save says:

    Sounds really yummy. It is about 15 minutes till my lunch break and these recipes are making my tummy growl.

  11. JessieLeigh says:

    What a great sounding recipe! I don’t even think my “meat and taters” hubby would miss the meat with the olives in there… another of his great loves. 🙂

  12. Gina @ The Shabby Chic Cottage says:

    Sounds yummy!

  13. Thank you!! I’m a vegetarian, so finding a yummy enchilada recipe *and* a list of recipes to explore that won’t be needing substitutions has made my morning!

  14. VeggieMomma says:

    I only eat ‘meatless’. But I really see meat–if you do eat it–as being a side dish. Beans, veggies and whole grains really should be more of a focus! Plus, they taste better to me 🙂

    My favorite is breaded and fried or baked tofu cubes. Serve with salad, whole grain bread and sauce for dipping (sweet chili sauce is my favorite but sweet and sour, ketchup, and plum sauce work well too).

  15. Yum! Great recipes, everyone! I linked up to an older post of mine featuring veggie burritos.

  16. UnfinishedMom says:

    Thank you so much for hosting this. I really need to increase our meatless meal options and there are definitely some good ones on this list! Thanks so much.

  17. Yum! We prefer homemade mole sauce, so this is a great idea since I am completely out of meat (and money) till the end of the month. I just made a large pot of fresh beans, and have some in the freezer so that and rice will be great with these for dinner tonight!

  18. I agree that a meatless meal can save money, but in our house, we spend more on cheese than we do on meat! A few years ago we started raising our own steer and pigs. The mama cow was supposed to be a milker, but she’s been too cantankerous for us. So-beef for us is about $2.50 per pound to raise, and pork is $3.50. The organic cheddar cheese I buy is $5.60 per pound though!

    I LOVE cheese enchiladas though, so this is going on the Feb meal plan, thanks!

  19. I’m looking at the enchilada recipes with my mouth watering. My son has tomato issues, however (it causes horrible reflux). Do you have suggestions to adapt the enchilada recipe to be tomato-free?

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      My enchilada sauce (Las Palmas) doesn’t have tomatoes. 😉 Can he have tomatillos? You could use a green sauce…. Typical enchilada sauce doesn’t usually have tomato sauce, it’s chile based.

    • Yeah, try cream cheese maybe spinach. My son likes cream cheese and spinach.

  20. Can I put beef in this recipe? Would it freeze the same?

  21. I made these last night for dinner but made them into bean and cheese b/c i knew my husband would be “starving” without his meat. I also made a side of rice. My husband said it was the best meal I’ve made in a long time! After he gobbled up seconds, I asked if he noticed there was no meat? His response? “Really?” Lol! Thank you for sharing your recipes! I love reading both your blogs and cooking your yummy food!

  22. christy angeles says:

    I’m a missionary in Mexico. And we have lots of meatless meals. My enchilada sauce is the best. Cut your chile’s in half and your tomatoes. Then fry them up in a little oil. While doing that slice your onions and garlic. When it smells spicy and the tomatoes are soft, blend them in the blender with one teaspoon of chicken broth powder or just salt. Then Sautee your onions and add your blended salsa. Cook on medium heat until boiling. You can also add oregano to your tomatoes and peppers or sesame seeds. Which is super yummy.

  23. We’re just my hubby and myself so I am leary of making up a big batch of a sauce we may not like. Is there a way to scale this smaller or larger, please? Maybe there is a website that has this tool? Thanks so much ahead.

  24. These are exactly the enchiladas we made in Gallup, New Mexico for school fundraisers. So delicious they always sold! I’d kind of forgotten about them and look forward to making some for my family or even my “frozen dinner club.” 🙂

  25. I forgot to rate the recipe–make these. You won’t be sorry!

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