So I’m having a no (or extremely little) spend month – mostly because I spent the majority of my food money on a skateboard (for Little) and a FitBit (for myself) – and am trying to only cook with the items I have on hand. Which is where this recipe for Stuffed Enchilada Shells came from.
The skateboard was a bit of an opps, you see I wanted to get on to train the dog to ride, but I was only planning on spending $50. My mistake was in taking Mr. I with me….skateboard ended up costing $250. He loves it, Little, well let’s just say she likes the training treats that go along with the board… At first, I only picked up the board, it wasn’t until I decided that she was confortable with the board that I picked up the wheels (at that point I really should have known better than to take Mr. I, but hey, when you’re going to over spend on something completely frivolous, you really should go all out right).
The FitBit, well, that was for me. You see, I’ve been having trouble sleeping and abnormally low levels of energy. I figured that the FitBit would help, or at least if I worked to do the 10,000 steps every-day and got the recommended amount of sleep, surly my energy level would pick up eventually. So I spent $400 on impulse purchases (that was not anywhere in the budget) and forced myself to try a no spend month.
So this recipe for Stuffed Enchilada Shells is based off of Life with the Crust Cut Off’s recipe for Enchilada Stuffed Shells. Her recipe called for Pasta Shells, Hamburger Meat, Refried Beans, Jack Cheese, Pepper jack Cheese, Enchilada Sauce, and Scallions. I didn’t have all the ingredients but I had enough that I thought I could make a reasonable attempt at the recipe.
First I didn’t have any hamburger meet (mostly because I’m a vegetarian and don’t eat meat…) and I didn’t have the cheeses or the scallions, but hey, I had the shells, the refried beans, and the enchilada sauce. Three out of seven isn’t bad, right. 😉
Only problem was that I wasn’t really interested in only shells with beans and sauce on top. So I decided to improvise. Instead of meat, I wanted to use veggies, only I didn’t have the ones on hand that I would have normally used for a “Mexican type” dish, but I did have corn, green beans, carrots, and a really big parsnip. I also added black beans as I only had one can of refried beans and I was scared that it wouldn’t be enough.
I also worried that there wouldn’t be enough spices, after all the only seasoning was the enchilada sauce and I wasn’t sure that that would be enough “seasoning” for what I’m used to, so I added chili pepper, ground ginger, oregano (I had meant to grab the cilantro but grabbed the wrong bottle..), and of course, garlic – I don’t think I can make anything without garlic, but that’s me.
Because I’m a bit of a cheese girl and couldn’t do Mexican without some sort of cheese, I toped it all with goat cheese. Covered the baking dish with tin foil and baked it for 45 minutes at 350. I was pretty happy with the results.
The only changes I would make is using more veggies, grading those veggies, and maybe using the cilantro instead of oregano (although the oregano was good too). At this point, I’m inclined to think that all veggies would taste great in this (just grade them up first). I can’t stress the importance of grading the vegetables first, seriously, stuffing those shells was not fun with such large pieces (OK I’m also not the best stuffer, but hey I did my best).
- Large Pasta Shells (cooked)
- 1 cup carrots
- 1 cup parsnip
- 1 cup corn
- 1 cup green beans
- 1 can black beans
- 1 can refried beans
- 1 jar enchilada sauce
- 6 oz goat cheese
- Cook pasta shells
- Preheat oven to 350
- Grade vegetables, rinse black beans, combine with refried beans
- Stuff bean mixture into pasta shells and place in a baking dish
- Pour the enchilada sauce over the stuffed shells
- Crumble goat cheese over the sauce
- Cover and cook for 45 minutes
- Make sure you grade the vegetables, I didn't and it made the stuffing part more difficult.
Have you tried a no spend month before? Was it originally brought on by impulse spending like mine or do you have more control? I’d love to hear about your experience. Oh and if you’re a meat eater, check out Life With The Crust Cut Off’s recipe.