Gracie’s beef enchiladas recipe.

One of my plans for this summer was to have the girls each plan and cook one dinner each week. I thought involving them in the meal planning – and cooking – process might cut down the number of times I hear them whine “But I don’t waaaannnt that for dinner!” or “Ew! I don’t liiiiike that!” So far, we have two dinners down and no complaining! At least, none that wasn’t slightly hilarious, as you will see.

Having the girls start their kitchen adventures this past weekend was perhaps a little ambitious with all we had planned, but we had to start sometime. So! Friday night I asked the girls what they wanted to prepare. Out of nowhere, Gracie decided on beef enchiladas. I have never cooked an enchilada in my life. After a rather unfortunate experience with Mexican food and food poisoning when I first arrived in Tejas, my tummy still rejects most Mexican dishes. I can eat enough to get by if I have to, but that’s about it. Which is how Gracie and I came to be digging through recipe books looking for a recipe.

Bee was slightly concerned with her sister’s ambitions. “But, Mama, I don’t like enchiladas,” Bee whispered to me. “That’s okay,” I told her. “I don’t like them, either. But remember what we decided? On nights when one of you is cooking, if you don’t like what we make, you can always have a bowl of cereal.” I figured relaxing the rules was a good idea if I was trying to teach them responsibility without having the entire plan collapse in a pool of failure and angst.

Ingredients for Gracie’s Beef Enchiladas

1 lb. lean hamburger meat
6″ tortillas (flour or corn or whatever your tastebuds are craving)
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
1/2 cup chopped onions (optional)
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp chili or cayenne powder
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1 cup of salsa
Sour cream

First, brown the meat in a frying pan, medium heat. I forgot how tricky it can be learning how to get hamburger meat to flip over when you’re trying to brown it, but Gracie was a champ. I only had to pick up the meat three or four times and toss it from the stovetop back into the pan, and she only burnt herself once – not from splatter, but from grabbing the side of the frying pan. Whoops.

While the meat is browning (or, if you’re new at this and can’t multi-task, after the meat is finished browning), start gathering your ingredient and make a big mess chopping the tomatoes. Gracie asked if we could leave out the onion because she doesn’t like them, so we skipped that step. (This is kinda important for later.)


In a small mixing bowl, combine 1/2 cup cottage cheese, 1/2 cup shredded cheese, 1/2 cup diced tomatoes, and the seasonings. Since we didn’t have fresh garlic, Gracie decided to add a teaspoon of garlic powder instead.

Spray the bottom of a shallow, 13×9 baking dish with cooking spray. Try not to get it all over the floor, because cleaning that slippery stuff off is crazyhard. (Ahem.) Lay a tortilla in your hand, fill with about 1/3 cup of the cottage cheese filling.


Then, add a bit of the browned hamburger meat.


Roll both sides of the tortilla closed, and place folded-side down in the pan. Repeat until you run out of the mixture, and then, if you’re Gracie, ask if you can fill the last two spaces in the dish with shredded-cheese-and-meat-only enchiladas.

When the pan is filled, top with the salsa and shredded cheese, to taste. Bake for 15 minutes (or until cheese is melty) at 375°.


Ta da! Not bad at all for a first meal, I thought! As I poured Bee her cereal, Gracie asked if I could please give her the two enchiladas that were cheese-and-meat-only. “Because I don’t like tomatoes in my enchiladas.” I stared at her, jaw open, before I busted out laughing. “Gracie! Why didn’t you leave those out like we did with the onions?” I asked, still laughing at my crazy, goofy girl. “I didn’t know they wouldn’t be diced teeeeeny tiny,” was all she could say.

But the fun wasn’t over for us. Gracie decided they were okay, but she would like them better if we didn’t use salsa. I made the note for next time and told her what a good job she did. My other crazy girl, Bee-baby, had decided to at least try a bite of Gracie’s dinner. And then proceeded to eat all of Gracie’s enchiladas and one with the full mixture besides that. Gracie ate Bee’s bowl of cereal. Because of course they did.

Oh well. Gracie had fun running the kitchen for a little while and I was just happy that the night was a success.


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One Response to “Gracie’s beef enchiladas recipe.”

  1. Kathy Says:

    Ambitious! Glad it all worked, even if she didn’t eat her own cooking.

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