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things we’ve handed down: hernandez family enchiladas


One of my wedding gifts from mom were two recipe boxes full of recipes from friends and family – everything from my sister’s favorite pork chops to baby meals to bath salts.  A family favorite is a recipe that my Grandma on my dad’s side handed down to my mom, who handed it down to me: the Hernandez family enchiladas.  You can see my copy is tattered and stained – a true sign of a great recipe.  I like that the recipe uses measurements like "some" and "a few" and "till it runs out."  I’m making them this Tres de Mayo for our monthly supper club and thought I’d share with you:

Hernandez Family Enchiladas

  • 1 1/2 – 2 lbs ground beef, browned and drained
  • Finely chopped onion (to taste)
  • Chopped black olive
  • Corn tortillas
  • Oil for frying
  • 2 19 oz cans enchilada sauce
  • 2-3 c. shredded cheese
  • 2 pair of tongs; one for oil and one for enchilada sauce

Mix first three ingredients together and set aside to cool.  Fry corn tortillas in hot oil a few seconds until just starting to cook (do not let get crispy). As you remove the tortilla, drip-drain excess oil over pan. Slip tortilla into pan of enchilada sauce, careful not to get sauce on your "oil tongs."  Repeat for several tortillas.

Using second pair of tongs, remove soaked tortillas to a plate. Fill with handful of meat mixture and handful of shredded cheese.  Roll and place in glass dish, seam side down. Continue this process until dish is full or until meat mixture runs out.

Top enchiladas with generous spoonsful of leftover sauce (pay particular attention to corners), then top again with shredded cheese. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.


These are fun to make with a friend in assembly-line fashion, and can actually go rather quickly.  I used to make them for military functions with my friend Lacey, who knows the recipe by heart herself now.  It’s funny watching someone with a Southern drawl whip up some enchiladas.

ETA: I’ve corrected the amount of sauce needed for these (2 10 oz. cans would probably not be enough)   

andrea - Daniel LOVES enchiladas but I have yet to find a truly great recipe. I am SO excited to try yours! It sounds amazing!
What a treasure those recipes must be. My mom did something similar, but on a much smaller scale, for my wedding shower.
Hope you are doing good!

Jan/Mom - And for those who don’t like hamburger meat, this same recipe can be made with shredded pork, beef, or chicken. Just takes more prep time to make the meat (if you aren’t using leftovers)–since I was a working mom, and money was usually tight, we always made it with hamburger.
To make with beef, pork, or chicken, rub meat (boneless pork roast, boneless chuck roast, or skinned chicken) with ground cumin, onion powder, and garlic powder, then slow cook all day with maybe 1/4 cup water in bottom. Remove meat and shred, add a splash of enchilada sauce to moisten, then continue recipe using shredded meat in place of ground beef.
Have fun at your get-together, sweetie!!
mom xo

Brianna Dupuy - I found your blog through Morgan Moore’s. Wow all I can say Crystal is that you are an amazing person. You are a wonderful mom, and seem like such a warm and caring person. I am very sorry that you have lost your sister. I myself do not have siblings, but my dear cousin who is like a sister lost her own sister 5 years ago.It was hard enough losing a cousin, but I know through my cousin how heartbreaking it is to lose a sibling. Anyway I enjoy reading your updates. Your baby girls are absolutley adorable. I love that you crochet. My mother in law taught me, well actually I only know how to make one kind of blanket… but that is a start. I printed your tutorial on a tote bag, because I have a new sewing machine I need to start using. Well God Bless you and your wonderful family!!! Brianna

Lacey - I have to say yes I do know the recipe by heart. I just hate that my husband doesn’t eat mexican. Sarah and I might have to make some for ourselves. For those of you who think you might try this recipe, just know that these enchiladas are amazing!!! What a great recipe to have handed down. I have a few, but the majority of mine come from Paula Deen.

Val - This is our exact enchilada recipe. We have them all the time, but that doesn’t stop us from always requesting them for birthdays, holidays, Saturdays, LOL
Good stuff!

Elizabeth - My dad makes enchiladas in a very similar fashion, only he starts with a chili base (no canned enchilada sauce) so it’s pretty time consuming. I’m always requesting them for birthdays and holidays. Our family is German descendent but his parents grew up in south Texas where Mexican food is king!

Shauna - I’ve got to try these. I marked them with a star in my Google Reader.