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Birthday Enchiladas: Our Family's Favorite Meal

07 January 2014

Why "Birthday" Enchiladas?

Because when I asked my daughter what she wanted me to make for her birthday, she answered, without hesitation, "Enchiladas."

Because last year when I was trying to decide what in the world I could make for my son's birthday that could be served to a crowd which included 4 people who were gluten-free, 2 who were dairy-free, and 2 who were tomato-free, the solution was enchiladas… 4 ways (wheat with and without cheese, corn with and without cheese)!

This recipe is, by far, my family's absolute favorite and I'm so excited to finally share it!


For Filling:

1 lb. ground beef (can sub: turkey, chicken, or 8 oz. chopped baby bella mushrooms)
2 cups black beans
1 medium zucchini chopped @ 1 ½ cups
1 medium onion- chopped
1-2 T homemade taco seasoning (I only use ½ t. cumin and I omit the cayenne)

For Sauce:
2 cups chicken (or veggie) broth
1-2 Tbsp. chili powder depending on desired level of spiciness
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
*5 Tbsp. flour ( 4 T if using whole wheat), or 2 Tbsp. Corn or Arrowroot starch for GF
5-6 Tbsp. water (2-3 Tbsp. if using corn or arrowroot starch)

For Enchiladas:
8 whole-wheat tortillas ( or one small package corn tortillas for GF)
2 cups cheddar (or Mexican blend) cheese (omit for DF)



1. Brown ground beef. (If using mushrooms, sauté in fat of your choice)
2. Add onions to the ground beef and sauté in the beef drippings.
3. Add zucchini and sauté until soft.
4. Add black beans.
5. Push all meat and veggies to the side and tip the pan slightly in order to create a small puddle of liquid, add a bit of broth or olive oil if all liquid has cooked off.
6. Put the spices into the liquid and stir until it begins to create a sauce, then combine with the meat and veggie mixture. Cook an additional 3-4 minutes.


1. Bring broth to a boil in a small saucepan.
2. Combine spices and mix into the boiling broth.
3. Combine flour (or starch) and water in a small bowl and mix until smooth. It will be thick but not so thick that it cannot be poured from bowl. Add more water if necessary.
4. Pour a little at a time into saucepan while whisking aggressively to avoid clumping. Whisk until smooth and the sauce begins to thicken. Remove from heat.


1. Spoon mixture into center of tortillas.
2. Top with a small sprinkling of cheese.
3. Roll tortilla and then place seam-side down in a 11x13 baking dish.
4. Top with enchilada sauce and remaining cheese.

5. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted and enchiladas are hot and bubbly.
**For GF Casserole, layer meat/ veggie mixture, corn tortillas, sauce and cheese. Depending upon the size of the dish, I usually use 2 layers of each, starting with the meat mixture on the bottom. If you prefer to use (or taste) more corn tortilla, you can use three layers of tortillas.


  1. YUM, corn tortillas would be a great addition! Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! :)

    Hope your week is great! Can't wait to see what you link up this week!

    Cindy from

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! I just made these minus the cheese, and with brown rice tortillas to make it allergy-friendly and was able to give my youngest an enchilada for the first time ever! My whole family loved them, and they came together so easily! God bless you! :)

    1. Thank YOU! I so rarely get comments from people who actually try my recipes and I'm never sure if my recipes have appeal outside my family. (Though this one is fairly well tested whenever we have company :) So glad it worked out- I've never tried with brown rice tortillas... will have to give it a try!

  3. I just made these yesterday- my whole family loved them! I made them as written, except replaced zucchini with red peppers because we love peppers. I have many different enchilada recipes, but the sauce made this one unique. I just signed up to bring a meal to a friend, and I plan to make these. Thanks!

    1. Thank you so much for your comment! I'm so glad to know that the recipe is a hit and red peppers sound like a great addition!! I'll have to give that a try. This is my go-to recipe to bring to other families… it's unique but still has wide-appeal. I also know that I can adjust it for various dietary needs!


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