Enchilada Simmer Sauce

This is one of those recipes that will make your life easier on busy nights. Have you seen those “simmer sauces” that are popping up in the grocery stores lately? They’re flavorful jarred sauces that allow you to make an easy 1 dish meal in a bowl just by adding meats and veggies. Brilliant idea. However, the store bought versions are often packed with weird oils & flavorings, extra sodium and preservatives. Over the last few months I’ve slowly been working on making my own to store in the freezer, no preservatives needed. Believe it or not, this is much, much easier than it seems, and less complicated than most “freezer meals.”

The recipe is in two parts: Part 1 is the recipe given below, you make the sauce and freeze it. Easy, peasy.  Each frozen portion serves 2-3 people.  You can double the recipe to make portions that serve 4-6, you just may need a larger saucepan to make it.

Part 2, thaw the sauce (this can take 24 hours), and heat with some meats & veggies. This part is super flexible, you can use fresh chicken, pork or shrimp, or substitute pre-cooked leftover meat from the previous night’s dinner and add bits of veggies that are about to go bad, whatever you want.  If you’re using fresh chicken or pork, put a little olive oil in the bottom of your saucepan, and sautee the meat for about 5-10 minutes, before dumping in the sauce and bringing to a simmer for 15 minutes.  If you’re using shrimp or pre-cooked meat, just add the meat and sauce all together and bring to a simmer for 10-15 minutes or until it’s heated through.

This particular sauce I like to serve garnished with generous slices of avocado, pepitas and finely chopped green onions and cilantro.  And some hot sauce for those who like it a little spicier.  Feel free to serve with corn tortillas for family members who don’t eat strictly paleo (still a gluten free meal).

Enchilada Simmer Sauce
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 8
  • Calories: 86
  • Fat: 4
  • Saturated fat: 1
  • Carbohydrates: 12
  • Sodium: 50
  • Fiber: 3
  • Protein: 2

Recipe type: freezer
Cuisine: Mexican

Note: If you’re not concerned about sodium, feel free to use the normal canned diced tomatoes or add ½ teaspoon of salt.
  • 3 cans diced tomatoes in juice, no salt added (14.5oz)
  • 1 can tomato sauce, no salt added (8oz)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 medium onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 4-8 jalapeno peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons cumin powder

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions, garlic and jalapeno peppers and sautee until the onions become transparent.
  2. Pour in the canned tomatoes and tomato sauce, and add the chili & cumin powder.
  3. Using an immersion blender (stick blender) puree the sauce, or you can do it in batches in the blender. Bring back up to a simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Allow to cool, divide into 4 portions and freeze.

The first few times I froze this in jars, as shown in the picture which certainly looks cute. However, the sauce expands in the jar making it tricky to tighten down the lid. And then I saw this on pinterest, so now I’m going to do my next batch in freezer bags. Not only does it fix the expansion problem, the flat bags store really well in the freezer, and I’m betting they thaw out faster.

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3 Responses to Enchilada Simmer Sauce

  1. Karen P says:

    Oh, this looks so good. I like the enchilada flavor, but the canned sauces are too salty for me now. Plus, I’m spoiled with my sea salt.

    Thanks for sharing the recipe. I’ll let you know how mine turns out after I try it.

  2. thatgirljj says:

    Thanks! I hope you like it. It certainly makes for some easy weeknight dinners.

  3. Sam says:

    Hmmm I like that idea! I actually haven’t seen that in the stores at all but it sounds clever. I could really use some easy meals on hand, because I am starting full time work this week!

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