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Another Example of Why Reading The Ingredients is So Important

It still amazes us how often we run across foods that are NOT what they appear to be.

In this week’s coaching tip, we are going to pick on enchilada sounds so simple, right?

You may have a can or a jar in your pantry right now, ready to open and throw into an upcoming meal.




But have you ever REALLY looked at the ingredients?


They may surprise you!


Here are the ingredients in a typical canned enchilada sauce, such as Las Palmas:

Water, Green Chile Peppers, Modified Corn Starch, Soybean Oil, Salt, Sugar, Jalapeno Peppers, Monosodium Glutamate, Citric Acid, Maltodextrin, Yeast Extract, Onion Powder, Spices, Garlic Powder, Distilled Vinegar, Torula Yeast, Acetic Acid, Caramelized Sugar, Spice Extractive.



Are some of these ingredients really necessary?

Such as the MSG (a flavor enhancer) and the added sugar?  And gluten?  Did you know most enchilada sauces are NOT gluten-free?


If you search, there are varieties and brands with better ingredients.  For example, the La Victoria brand offers a slightly simpler list of ingredients and is gluten-free, or another version of the Las Palmas includes:

Water, Dried Red Chile Peppers, Salt, Cottonseed Oil, Cider Vinegar, Fumaric Acid, Garlic Powder, Spice, Olive Oil.



Another example of the importance of reading those ingredient labels!



What's the ideal solution? Make your own!

But why?

  • Excellent flavor and nutrients…better than the “off-the-shelf” versions!
  • You know EXACTLY what the ingredients are!
  • If you are sensitive to gluten, it's super-easy to make it gluten-free.

It really is simple and delicious!

Here is just one example of a Homemade Enchilada Sauce (this recipe will make 15 oz -- or just under 2 cups):

3 Tbsp olive oil, 3 Tbsp whole wheat flour (or gluten-free flour or arrowroot), 1 Tbsp chili powder, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp cayenne red pepper (OPTIONAL), 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce, 1 cup low sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth), 1 tsp apple cider vinegar and 1/4 tsp black pepper.

(Arrowroot is a gluten-free starch from plants which acts as a thickener, similar to corn starch.)

First, have your spices measured and ready in a small bowl.  Then, add oil to a small saucepan over medium high heat.  When hot, add flour and stir to combine.  Add spices, stir again, and then add tomato sauce and broth.  Stir until combined and let simmer 5-10 minutes until slightly thickened.  Add vinegar and pepper and stir again, and then proceed to use in your recipe.


It doesn't stop there!

You can find other homemade seasonings and rubs in our Quick Tips, including taco seasoning, cajun seasoning, basil pesto, garlic steak rub and more.

Then try these flavor-filled seasoning mixtures in a variety of absolutely delicious recipes:

One Pot Sausage and Sweet Potato Enchiladas

Chipotle Chicken Enchilada Bake

Slow Cooker Enchilada Soup Bar

Stuffed Squash Taco Boats

Cajun Style Shrimp Pasta

Grilled Vegetables with Basil Pecan Pesto


We know that convenience sometimes wins the battle and it's easier to grab a can or jar, but consider making homemade when you can...once you taste the flavor difference, you may never go back!

What else have you found to be better homemade vs. pre-packaged?  Salad dressings, salsas, pickles?  Please share!


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