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A healthy Mexican casserole that is full of delicious flavor

By Brenda Stanley

For the Deseret News

Published: Monday, May 6 2013 2:00 p.m. MDT

Belle's Enchilada Casserole had reduced fat and contains no meat.

Brenda Stanley

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Mexican food is one of my favorites, but it usually isn’t as healthy as I’d like. The cheese and sauces and meats can add lots of delicious flavor, but also a lot of calories and fat. This Enchilada Casserole is super easy and is full of healthy ingredients. There is zucchini, spinach, black beans and corn that make up the bulk of the filling, and the corn tortillas are low in fat and contain fewer calories than flour, plus they give the casserole a hearty flavor. This dish still has cheese, but with a smaller amount, that will satisfy both your taste buds and your scale.

This recipe can be made in advance and then popped in the oven right when you get home from work.

If you haven’t already noticed, this enchilada dish contains no meat, but with all the textures of the tortillas, corn, beans and spicy sauce, I doubt anyone will notice. And with all those healthy ingredients, this dish is a complete meal that will have you family saying, "Ole!"

Belle's Enchilada Casserole

2 tablespoons oil

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 small onion, chopped

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced

2 cups zucchini, diced

2 cups fresh spinach, chopped

1 cup corn

1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed

1 (4 ounce can) green chili peppers, diced

1 (6 ounce can) black olives, sliced

1 can (24 ounces) enchilada sauce

6 (6 inch) corn tortillas

1 cup shredded cheese (cheddar or a combination of cheddar and Monterey jack)

Sour cream (optional)

Salsa (optional)

In a large skillet, heat the oil and sauté the onion, garlic and jalapeno. Add zucchini and cook 5 minute or until tender. Add spinach, beans and corn. Cook and stir until spinach wilts. Turn down the heat and add diced green chili peppers. Cover and keep warm.

Dip 3 tortillas in the enchilada sauce and place them in a lightly greased 9-by-13 baking dish, overlapping as needed to cover bottom of dish. Place half of the vegetable mixture on top of the tortillas. Top with half the cheese. Layer with the other 3 tortillas dipped in enchilada sauce and the rest of the vegetable mixture. Drizzle with remaining enchilada sauce. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and olives. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Uncover, and continue baking for an additional 15 minutes or until the casserole is bubbling and the cheese is melted. Serve with sour cream and salsa.

If you want to beef this recipe up, simply add a half pound of ground beef that has been browned and drained to the vegetable mixture.

Brenda Stanley is the mother of five children, including two sets of twins, and a grandmother of three. She is a cookbook author and novelist. Her website is at talesofthedinnerbelle.com.

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