I scored this week on the Free Friday Download.
Kroger grocery store has a program where they have one item for free every Friday. Usually it's a small bag of candy, or chips or other snack food. Occasionally it's real food like yogurt, or this week: Queso Fresco, fresh cheese.
Queso blanco, with similar cheeses including queso fresco, is a creamy, soft, and mild unaged white cheese, commonly used in the Iberian Peninsula, several Latin American countries including Mexico, and many parts of the United States. The name queso blanco is Spanish for "white cheese", but similar cheeses are used and known throughout the world. ... It is similar to (if slightly more acidic than) pot cheese and farmer cheese.Hmmm, what can I do with fresh cheese? Googling this query brought me to a recipe for cheesy enchiladas.
Queso blanco is considered one of the easier cheeses to make, as it requires no careful handling and does not call for rennet or a bacterial culture. Wikipedia
Being gluten free, I've tried corn tortillas before but they always taste so bad to me. Then a few weeks ago having dinner at a friend's house, corn tortillas were part of a make-your-own taco bar. I added really juicy tomatoes to my plate and when the juice mixed with the corn tortilla, it was transformed.
Seeing the recipe for enchiladas, the explanation section called for heating the tortillas, which I always did, and then giving the tortilla an oil bath or dredging it in enchilada sauce! Remembering the tonato sauce transformation, I thought Bingo! Let's do this!
I followed the recipe and added enchilada sauce to the bottom of my baking dish while my tortillas were heating on the griddle. I dredged both sides in additional enchilada sauce, and added the now crumbled fresh cheese. I placed these babies seam side down, and added chopped onion to the top, then the rest of the cheese, topping with the remaining enchilada sauce.
Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or so. You can top with avocado and sour cream, both ingredients I had on hand. A gluten free, inexpensive dinner! Win-win!
The take-away: I started with the free ingredient and made it the main ingredient. I built the dish around the cheese. Then looked for recipes featuring that ingredient where I also had most of the other indgredients on hand. The avocado, sour cream and onion were in my pantry and fridge. I only had to buy the enchilada sauce. It took a minimum of effort and time toput it together. I did it on a school night. It took 20 minutes to assemble and 25 minutes to heat through in the oven.
Fresh Cheese: $0.
Tortillas: A packet of 30 of them is $1.50, so 6 tortillas would cost 3 cents each, or for the 6 I cooked, 18 cents.
Enchilada sauce, $1.50. I used the whole can.
Onions: negligible. I used a bit of one large onion. Shavings, really.
Avocado: on sale for .77 cents each. I used half of one with my meal.
Sour cream: on sale for 99 cents.
My serving was three enchiladas. So the cost for this meal was roughly $1.50. You can add Mexican rice to the meal as a side dish, but I figured the tortillas with the cheese and avocado were rich enough, and I had a pot of tea going on the side, so, I cut it off there. For Friday night's meal of the remaining three enchiladas, I might add rice to the festivities, but for now, it's time to eat (frugally)--