Lee Gumbs, Courtesy Ginestra

Janelle Ginestra Shares Her Grandma's Recipe for Enchilada Pie

Growing up, commercial dancer and choreographer Janelle Ginestra loved watching her Grandma Betty cook. "She's a 4' 11", adorable little Mexican woman, and would always cook us tortas and Mexican food," Ginestra says.

Her favorite of her grandma's dishes is enchilada pie. "I'm half Italian and half Latin, so I always loved that it was like a Mexican lasagna," she says. Today, Ginestra cooks it herself whenever she's trying to impress her friends: "Because it's something you can rely on tasting good—you can't go wrong with tortillas, meat and cheese, ever."


Ingredients

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsps butter
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1–2 tsps salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsps chili powder
  • olive halves or pieces (at your discretion)
  • 8 oz grated cheddar cheese or shredded cheese blend
  • 6 or 7 corn tortillas, lightly buttered

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Fry together beef, onion, garlic and butter until onions look clear and meat is cooked. Then drain the excess liquid.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together tomato sauce with salt, pepper, chili powder and olives. Combine with meat, mixing well.
  4. In a buttered pie pan, place a tortilla. (If your tortillas are too small to fit the baking dish, add extra pieces of tortilla to fill out each layer.) Then add enough meat mixture to cover the tortilla, then sprinkle some cheese. Repeat that pattern 5 times, ending with a tortilla, then sprinkle more cheese.
  5. On top, add about 1/3 cup water. "I usually fill half the empty can of tomato sauce with water," says Ginestra.
  6. Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbling.

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