Ooohhhh, tonight’s dinner was so good. And so cheap. And so easy.

But before we get to that cheesy, saucy goodness, I want to talk about the gym. I love the gym. I love the whole concept of a gym (people getting fit together in a supportive environment with every piece of equipment imaginable). And more specifically, I love my gym.

To me, one of the most valuable parts of my gym membership is the variety it allows. I tend to be fickle. I tend to start things and not finish them. I tend to not like movies because they are too long. I rarely listen to a whole song on my iPod because I’m bored after the first verse (even songs I really love). Like I said, fickle. And I’m the exact same way with exercise. Specifically the cardio machines.

When I go to do a cardio day at the gym (like I did today), I am all over the place. Walking on the track for a few minutes. Running sprints on the treadmill. Elliptical (forward and reverse). Stationary bike. Staying at any one place for longer than 10 minutes is torture for me. I did manage to do 19 minutes on the treadmill when I was doing sprints, but I certainly wasn’t doing the same thing for that 19 minutes.

I’m jealous of people who can slog away cardio hour-after-hour. There is a woman who stays on the same elliptical for an hour every time I’m there. Doing the same speed. She doesn’t have headphones, no magazine or book and doesn’t watch the TVs. She must be deep in thought. Or just totally relaxed. Or something else that I can’t even wrap my head around. Could it be that I’m just not comfortable enough to “go there” mentally during strenuous workouts?  People talk about the endorphin-releasing, soul-shaking experiences they have with cardio (specifically running) and I’ve never been there. I’m hoping someday I can reach the state that woman was in. Totally comfortable with just being in the moment and focusing on her task at hand. But for now, I’m thankful to have so many cardio machines to choose from.

Anyway. Back to cheesy, saucy goodness! Y’all came here to see photos of food, not to hear about my constant mental channel changing.

When I was sorting through the food in our freezer to decide what could land on a cheap menu this week, I found a long forgotten bag of whole wheat tortillas. After a little bit of research, I got stuck on the idea of making bean enchiladas. Mostly because of the cheap ingredients. But in order to make this truly successfully cheap, I wanted to make my own “refried” beans and my own enchilada sauce. What I came up with is decidedly inauthentic, but damn delicious. We’ll start with the beans. I plan on using this recipe anytime I need refried beans. So much better for you than the canned version.

Slow Cooker Cheesy “Refried” Beans

1 bag dried pinto beans
1 medium onion, quartered
1 jalapeno pepper, sliced into rings (remove seeds and membrane if want less heat)
1 T. cumin
2 T. chili powder
Salt and pepper
1 c. cheddar cheese, shredded, divided

Soak beans according to bag directions overnight. Rinse and place in slow cooker with onion and add water until beans are barely covered. Cook 7-8 hours on low or until beans are soft. In the last hour of cooking, add jalapeno, cumin, chili powder and salt and pepper to taste.  Using a slotted spoon to drain cooking liquid, place half the bean mixture in a blender and puree with 1/2 c. cheddar cheese. Repeat with second half of bean mixture. (Don’t try to do this in one batch. I did in my KitchenAid blender and now have a new motor part on its way because I killed it.) Combine batches and taste for seasoning.

I had to stop myself from eating these beans with a spoon. They taste straight up like the real thing. And I’m a fan of anything that cooks while I’m not home. The cooking liquid was nice and seasoned, and I’m trying to thing of something to use it in. I did use a cup of it in my enchilada sauce. Which is coming up now.

Enchilada Sauce

3 T. olive oil
2 T. flour
2 T. chili powder
2 c. water or chicken stock
1 c. tomato sauce
1 T. cumin
1 t. onion powder
1 t. garlic powder
Salt and pepper

Heat olive oil over low heat in a large skillet. Whisk in flour and chili powder and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Whisk in remaining ingredients (including salt and pepper to taste). Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring often, for 5-7 minutes, or until thickened.

To make the enchiladas, all I did was divvy up the beans between eight tortillas and lay them out, seam side down, in a 11 x 17 baking dish.

Pour the sauce over them. I used all but about 1 cup of the sauce. Not sure what I’m going to use the rest for.

Shred up some more cheddar and blanket the top.

Bake at 400° for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly.

We served ours with a dollop of plain yogurt, but of course, sour cream would be equally delicious.

Mmm, these were so rockin’! A ton of flavor. For us, they were just the right amount of spice, but we’re mild Northerners. If you like more of a kick, I’d add more jalapeno to the beans and then some more chili powder to the sauce.

Don’t think we neglected the greens. Had a simple side salad, too.

I so wanted to finish each of these two enchiladas, but I only got through 1 1/2. Babyface polished off the rest. Excited to have these for lunch tomorrow!

20/40/60 Day 8 Recap

Days Completed: 8
Days Remaining: 12
Money Spent: $21.84
Money Remaining: $18.16

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  1. I’ve made the beans this way twice. They are outstanding and the sauce could not be tastier and easy to make.

    Thank you for the recipie.

  2. Those beans look awesome and I want to make them very soon. I was just wonder how large your bag of pintos was? 1 lb?


  3. I made your slow cooker “refried” beans tonight for taco night. AH-mazing. So so yummy! We’re already planning on using the leftovers to do nachos with my homemade salsa. Yum! Thanks for the awesome recipe!

  4. I also get bored with one form of cardio but I don’t go to the gym and instead, have dozens of workout dvds. I have to switch them up all the time. Looks so delicious! I’m craving now.

    1. I have a few workout DVDs that I really like, too. Mostly, I just can’t stand doing the same thing all the time. Variety is the spice of life, right?

    1. They were very good, although a whole lot of heavy, heavy beans. I think next time, I might try cutting the beans in half and use seasoned right, and maybe even some grilled peppers and onions. Make them more fajita enchiladas. But the seasonings were all spot on!