White Cheese Enchiladas with Mexican Rice

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White Cheese Enchiladas with Mexican Rice by Daniel Montañez
Story and Photos by Steven Navarro

It’s not too common that a male undergraduate would know how to cook a full-fledged meal, but Daniel Montañez is an expert at making White Cheese Enchiladas so authentic that any abuelita in San Antonio would give the nod of approval.

Montañez, a senior Business Management major at St. Mary’s University, says he enjoys cooking but admits it’s hard to find time to cook a wholesome meal as a full-time student with two jobs. “I’ll usually just pick up Chik-Fil-A from the UC because of my schedule,” Montañez says, “but I would much rather eat a home-cooked meal.”

One of Montañez’s career plans is to attend a seminary upon graduating from St. Mary’s. This desire to learn more about his faith isn’t something he’s postponing until after graduation. Montañez is involved with faith-based activities and groups on campus. “Besides my classes, I love to join in on the things happening here on campus, like Bible studies and other clubs” he says. “I really like St. Mary’s because there is so much to get involved with.”

“A downfall,” he admits, is that this “leaves even less time for making hearty meals.”

Every now and then, when tests and essays are not due, Montañez will have some free time for himself. This is a miracle of sorts for the busy Business Management major, one he always plans to use for grubbing on anything but fast food. “If I have a free evening, I know I’m going to eat good,” Montañez says. “I grew up on my mom’s Mexican food, so that’s what I automatically go for when cooking.” Montañez admits he didn’t begin to learn how to cook until he started college. “I never started learning how to cook because I would always come home and there’d be food on the table. But now, I’ve got to fend for myself most of the time.”

One of Montañez’s go-to dishes is enchiladas with rice. “It’s one of those dishes I grew up on,” he says. “You’ve got to make sure the cheese is good,” Montañez warns, “because if not, it doesn’t matter how anything else tastes.”

Ingredients:

White Cheese Enchiladas

  • 10 corn tortillas
  • 10 oz. Cacique QuesoFresco cheese
  • 8 oz. Mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup of Olive Oil
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 1 can of Chile con carne

Rice

  • 1 cup of rice
  • 2 T. of oil
  • ¼ of a medium onion
  • ¼ medium bell pepper
  • ¼ cup of tomato sauce
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • salt to taste
  • Ground Pepper to taste

Directions:

Rice

  1. In a medium pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add rice and cook until it turns golden brown.
  2. Add garlic, onions, bell pepper and sauté for about one minute.
  3. Add broth and tomato sauce. Stir and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Do not stir after this or rice will turn mushy.
  4. After 5 minutes, turn the heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Yield: Serves 6-8 (can serve with side dish of beans)

Enchiladas

  1. Preparation: Wash ingredients, dice vegetables and prepare measurements.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Crumble the QuesoFresco cheese and shred the mozzarella cheese. Dice the onion and mix all 3 ingredients. Set aside.
  4. In a large frying pan at medium-high heat, add 3 T of olive oil. Place tortilla in the pan. Cook for about 5 seconds on each side. Remove from pan and place the tortillas on a plate (place a paper towel on plate to soak extra oil) and repeat the process.
  5. Take a tortillas and fill it with 2 t of cheese/onion mixture. Roll up the tortillas and place it in a casserole pan. Continue until all tortillas are filled and rolled. Add the can of chile con carne to the top of the tortillas in the casserole pan. Cover all enchiladas with grated cheese.
  6. Put the casserole in the oven for 10 minutes or until cheese melts. Yield: Serves 4

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