Total Time: 20 Minutes
Recipe Yields: 4

We had a lot of leftover taco meat and instead of making tacos again I thought I would make a copy cat of one of my favorite Taco Bell treats, the Enchirito. That is like a combination of a beef and bean burrito that they serve in a little dish covered in red sauce and melted cheese. It is delicious. Mostly it isn’t on the menu but they will make it for you if you ask. Today I am making my own version with my leftover taco meat, some re-fried beans and cheese. I love a leftover makeover and this one was amazing!

I mixed my leftover taco meat with a 28 ounce can of re-fried beans and about a cup of shredded cheddar. I used taco sized tortillas and put about 1/4 cup of the filling in each before rolling up and placing in the vessel of my Ninja cooking system. My oven was broken at the time and this was how we made it. You could easily bake this in a casserole dish or foil pan in the oven.

I topped all the rolled tortillas with about half of a 28 ounce can of my favorite Las Palmas Red enchilada sauce and then covered the whole thing with more shredded cheddar and a 7 ounce can of diced green chilies. I popped this in the Ninja on the oven setting at 350 for about 20 minutes. If you are going to bake yours in the oven, then it will take between 20 and 30 minutes at 350 to get everything hot and bubbly.

I actually had enough of all the ingredients to make a pan for a freezer meal. So nothing went to waste and I freezer banked a meal for the future using leftovers. I love with that happens, don’t you? When I am ready to have a quick meal I can just take it out of the freezer and pop it into the oven for about an hour and bam, dinner without any work. Aside from the side dish and maybe an avocado salad.

Here is a little bit of interesting background on the Taco Bell Enchirito:

There is an unsubstantiated claim that the Enchirito was invented in 1967 by a high school student in Montebello. However, a 2008 article published in the Long Beach Press-Telegram claimed that a Cerritos, California based franchise owner named Dan Jones had created the Enchirito. In an article published in a Corsicana Daily Sun in 1971, there is a third claim that a Taco Bell franchise owner in Texas was the actual inventor.
The original Enchirito of the 1970s was advertised as a special tortilla filled with ground beef, pinto beans, and onions; topped with red sauce, cheese and olives. It was served in a reheatable aluminum foil tray. One of the earliest print reference to the Enchirito is an August 1967 Taco Bell ad in an Amarillo, Texas newspaper for a meal consisting of a taco, Enchirito, and soft drink for $0.89.
The coining of the name Enchirito (a portmanteau of the words enchilada and burrito) for this item was a bit of a peculiar action by Taco Bell. It was the only item on the menu, at the time, to not use the common Mexican food nomenclature for that item. Whereas a burrito is typically a flour tortilla filled with beans, and an enchilada is typically a corn tortilla filled with meat and smothered in chili sauce, the name Enchirito communicates the combination of these elements.

Even after the Enchirito was officially discontinued in 1993, some customers still ordered them, and word spread through the Internet that many restaurants would still make them with the ingredients they had available. Due to this underground popularity, it was decided to bring it back. The Enchirito was once again discontinued when Taco Bell introduced the Smothered Burrito in 2013. While it may not be currently seen on the menu, it can be requested when ordering.

I hope you give these a try the next time you have leftover taco meat and I hope you love them!

Happy Eating!

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Las Palmas Red Enchilada Sauce:

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