Mexican food is one of the most popular and well-known cuisines in the world.
The very word “Mexican” conjures up images of relaxed, happy people enjoying life to the fullest with family and friends.
And while Mexican cuisine has its roots in Spanish cooking, it also carries influences from other cultures such as French, Italian and Arabic.
One dish that reflects Mexico’s diverse culinary heritage is enchiladas–a corn tortilla rolled around a filling, then covered with a sauce made from chili peppers or tomatoes (or both).
Enchiladas may be filled with any number of ingredients–ground beef, shredded chicken, pork loin, or even vegetables.
And they are typically served topped with cheddar cheese and sour cream.
Enchiladas can be frozen in either an individual size (ie., rolled around a filling) or assembled into a casserole and covered with sauce and cheese before freezing.
There are two methods to freeze them: individuals and already-assembled enchiladas.
In this article, we will look at both methods and the preparation steps involved.
Why Consider Freezing Enchiladas?
Enchiladas are a great addition to your freezer because they freeze so well–they can be reheated in the oven or microwave for later consumption without fear of them getting dry during reheating.
They may also be prepared and frozen up to one month in advance, which means that you don’t have to worry about making them at a last minute’s notice.
They are also easy to make and serve.
Made with a mixture of chili sauce and tomatoes, enchiladas offer a spicy taste and visual appeal due to their red-colored surface.
Here are some reasons why you should consider freezing enchiladas:
- You can prepare food ahead of time. If you plan a party or get-together, you can make the enchiladas in advance–either cooked or uncooked. Once they are frozen, you can keep them for up to one month without worrying about spoilage.
- Food is generally cheaper when bought in bulk. If you prefer to buy food ingredients in bulk and prepare it yourself, freezing the finished product would be a real plus. You can also buy food in bulk, cook half of it and freeze the other for later consumption.
- You can eliminate waste from your daily meals. If you normally throw away leftovers, then freezing is an excellent way to make sure that this doesn’t happen again.
- It’s easy to save money by buying ingredients in bulk and freezing. If you are planning a big celebration or holiday meal, it can be really helpful to buy vegetables and meat in bulk and freeze the extra for later use.
- It helps keep food fresh longer without spoiling. Think of all those leftover containers from last month’s meals that have been sitting in your refrigerator and freezer.
Does Freezing Affect Enchiladas?
When considering freezing enchiladas, the main concern is how long they can be stored and whether they will retain their taste and texture after being thawed.
Generally speaking, freezing does not negatively affect food unless it is exposed to extreme temperatures.
In other words, if the temperature fluctuates from cold to hot or hot to cold, then your food will lose its last freshness and taste.
The best way to freeze food such as enchiladas is to keep them constant at -18 degrees Celsius.
You can also safely thaw your frozen enchiladas in the refrigerator (instead of leaving them out on the counter).
How to Freeze Enchiladas?
As mentioned, you can choose to freeze your enchiladas in either an individual size or assembled into a casserole. Let’s look at both methods.
Freezing Individual Enchiladas
To freeze individual enchiladas:
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then place them on the sheet.
- Once you have prepared several of your enchiladas, cover them with either aluminum foil or plastic wrap.
- Flash freeze before putting them in a freezer bag.
Freezing enchiladas individually allows you to prepare these tasty treats according to the number of servings you need.
For example, if you have a potluck event coming up, then remove few “units” from your freezer bag and heat them in the oven or microwave once at the venue.
This is also helpful when individual tastes for enchiladas need to be accommodated.
Don’t forget to mark the date and contents on the bag when storing it in your freezer.
Freezing Assembled Casserole
Freezing enchiladas assembled in a casserole allows you to prepare several at once and freeze them together.
Cover the bottom of your casserole dish with a layer of enchiladas, then top it with sauce and cheese.
Continue putting several layers until the dish is filled. Then flash freeze and put it in a freezer bag or casserole container.
Wrap the container in plastic wrap before putting it in the freezer.
Freezing enchiladas as a casserole makes it easy to heat at once since you don’t need to remove individual portions from the freezer.
You can even feed an army of hungry people with it.
Also, it won’t take much time to prepare since everything is already ready to eat.
It’s important to label your frozen enchiladas to easily identify what they are when removing them from the freezer.
You may include the quantity and preparation date in your labeling so you’ll have all the information you need to use them later.
How to Thaw and Reheat Frozen Enchiladas?
If you are interested in reheating enchiladas, there are two methods you can use.
They include thawing your enchiladas in the fridge overnight or using the microwave oven.
Thaw Enchiladas Using the Refrigerator Method
To freeze the casserole of an enchilada in your refrigerator, please remove it from the freezer and transfer it to the refrigerator.
Allow it to rest there for 8 to 12 hours, depending on how long your frozen enchiladas have been stored in your freezer.
Once your casserole has been thawed, you can reheat it in the oven or microwave.
Just make sure that your enchilada casserole is completely thawed before you do so.
Reheat Frozen Enchiladas Using the Microwave
To reheat a frozen casserole of enchiladas using the microwave, place it in a microwave-safe dish and heat it for around 3 minutes.
Turn the casserole every 1 minute to allow even heating. Make sure that you check its interior before you serve it.
If the casserole is not yet hot enough for your taste, then heat again for 1 minute. Avoid reheating it longer than 5 minutes as it may get soggy.
How Long Does Enchiladas Last in Freezer?
Enchiladas may be frozen for up to 3 months if properly stored.
However, it is best to use them before the said period since you can’t tell how they taste anymore.
Freezing your leftovers also preserves their nutrients since only a small amount of air enters the packages when freezing and thawing occurs.
Follow the mentioned steps and tips in this article to make sure that the quality and flavor of your enchiladas are maintained.
In conclusion, enchiladas is truly a versatile dish that can be served in various forms and flavors.
Enchiladas are best prepared in large quantities since it freezes well.
You may freeze the dish individually or assemble it in a casserole.
Both methods are easy to reheat and eat. However, it is important to remember that certain steps should be followed before thawing or reheating the dish.
Once you have learned how to freeze enchiladas and how to reheat them, your family can enjoy a delicious and safe meal without having to prepare from scratch every time.