We are fortunate to have a cabin high in the mountains of North Carolina. It is always a welcome time to relax and unwind with nature. Due to schedules, most of our time at the cabin is in short visits, however, I’m sure even a month would never be enough to breathe in the fresh mountain air. Cooking and eating at the cabin during short visits means strategic planning in order to not waste food. Cooking and eating at the cabin also means having must-haves in the panty for emergency meals in case of getting fogged in or snowed in. We arrived late in the evening this visit with hopes of driving into town early for provisions, but the fog had other plans.

Fogged In the Mountains

We were fogged in with very little visibility, so no driving anytime soon. Lucky for us, we recently had some friends stay at our cabin and they left behind a frozen meal of two cheese enchiladas. Definitely not enough for the both of us for lunch. What to do?

Leftover Cheese Enchiladas
Leftover Cheese Enchiladas

I then remembered a fellow food waste friend who said she uses a leftover enchilada to make a cup of soup. Her brilliant, creative, idea was my inspiration. I knew I had beef stock and Mexican style tomatoes in the panty, a frozen mix of onions, peppers, and garlic, and a small frozen wedge of cheese–a bonus at this point! Lunch was on its way. This makeover my leftover transformed two little enchiladas into a whole pot of soup, which was good, considering it had to be our dinner, too! Life on the mountain is always full of surprises. Sorry for the picture quality, no pretty sunshine, only fog.

Leftover Enchilada Soup
Steaming Hot Bowl of Leftover Enchilada Soup

Leftover Enchilada Soup
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Yield: 4

Leftover Enchilada Soup


  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 leftover cheese or beef enchiladas, cold, chopped
  • 1 can Mexican style diced tomatoes (or 1 can diced tomatoes & green chilies)
  • 3 cups beef stock or broth
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • Cheddar cheese, grated, for garnish


  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, sautรฉ garlic, onion, and peppers in olive oil for 5 minutes.
  2. Add stock and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low. Add leftover enchiladas. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Garnish with grated cheddar cheese, if desired, Serve hot.

That’s it! I love a Makeover Magic of transforming one serving into four servings in 20 minutes! Once again the cabin has given me a new Makeover My Leftover recipe out of necessity, just likeย Grilled Vegetable Rice Salad which, coincidentally, was when we were fogged in!

Leftover Enchilada Soup
Makeover Magic:: 4 Servings in 20 minutes

Put On Your TO COOK IS TO CREATE Thinking Cap: No leftover enchiladas? Use tamales. Only have leftover chicken enchiladas? Change stock to chicken or vegetable. What other canned goods could be added? Potatoes, corn, black beans or refried beans would add a nice creaminess. Like it spicy? Add sliced jalapenos or adobe peppers. Fresh greens and herbs like spinach and cilantro would brighten the soup. Veggie lover? Add chopped zucchini and squash with onions and peppers. Want a heartier soup? Brown ground beef first or add cooked steak or chicken or even Mexican rice. Have tortilla chips? Use them for a crispy topping along with the cheese. Like sour cream, green onions, or guacamole on your enchiladas? Use them as a topping, too. Not enough sauce on your leftover enchiladas? Make some quickย enchilada sauce. Love the idea of enchilada soup? How about makingย enchilada meatballs all the taste in one bite?

FOOD FUN: According to Wikipedia, enchiladas were first mentioned in a Mexican cookbook called, El Cocinero Mexicano (The Mexican Chef) published in 1831. The word enchilada is the past participle of Spanish enchilar “to add chili pepper to”, literally to “season or decorate with chili’. Makes total tasty sense to me now!

Leftover Enchilada Soup
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3 thoughts on “Leftover Enchilada Soup

  • November 13, 2020 at 4:55 pm

    Thank you for the idea. I had a Mexican casserole left over and didn’t know what to do with it. I am making leftover soup.

    • December 21, 2020 at 9:51 am

      Thanks & thanks for letting me know! Hope your leftover Mexican casserole soup was a yummy success!

  • March 30, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    Enchilada soup…absolutely great meal when you are fogged or snowed in….especially in a mountain cabin. Great delicious recipe. Just made some and we ate every spoonful! ๐Ÿ™‚


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