When oil is heated, add the onion and saute until translucent but not brown, approximately 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, approximately 30 seconds.
Add the cumin, chile powder, salt, and sugar. Stir to combine and toast until the spices are fragrant, approximately 1-2 minutes.
Add the tomato sauce and 1/2 cup water. Stir to combine. Reduce heat to low and let the sauce simmer for at least 15 minutes. The longer the better, so if you can start this earlier than the flavors will continue to develop and make a more robust tasting sauce.
While the sauce is simmering, cook your ground beef in a medium pot over medium heat. Break up the beef as it cooks until no longer pink, approximately 10 minutes.
When both the sauce and beef are ready, start to assemble the enchiladas.
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Add approximately 1/4 to 1/2 cup enchilada sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish (just enough to cover the bottom). Add a little water to it if it is thick.
Add 1/2 cup of sauce to the ground beef and stir to combine.
Scoop approximately 2 Tablespoons of the ground beef across a corn tortilla, approximately 1/3 up from the bottom.
Add approximately 2 Tablespoons of shredded cheese across the beef.
Roll up and place in the baking dish.
Repeat with the remaining ingredients, getting approximately 12 enchiladas. Add sauce on top of the enchiladas as you roll if they are starting to crack.
Once they are all rolled, pour the rest of the sauce across the enchiladas.
Top with the remaining 1/2 cup (approximately) of cheese.
Bake until the cheese is melted and the sauce edges of the dish is bubbling, approximately 20-25 minutes.
Serve warm with your favorite side dishes and toppings.
The heat for this recipe is moderate. For a mild heat, use 1 tablespoon of chili powder. For a spicy sauce, use 3 tablespoons of chili powder or add some cayenne pepper.
Keep in mind that the exact powders that you use can vary greatly in heat level. It is best to start off with less chili powder and add more as you need to than to end up with a sauce that is too hot!
The longer you can let this sauce cook, the better it will taste.
You can skip the sugar, but it helps round out the acidic and sharp flavors that can come with tomatoes.
Use any enchilada sauce that you like! You will need around 2 cups of sauce (16 ounces).
Squish the enchiladas in there tightly to fit in the dish, with some horizontally at the bottom. Or use multiple dishes if desired.