Chicken Enchiladas

I cooked up a STORM of freezer friendly meals over weeks leading up to Mia’s arrival last fall.  I found a recipe for the “best enchiladas ever” on Gimme Some Oven and was obviously intrigued.  I liked that the site also provided a recipe for enchilada sauce from scratch.  I don’t mind store-bought, but I really like knowing what is my food and being able to make adjustments accordingly.

Chicken Enchiladas

This recipe is great for parties too.  The theme of this year’s annual Sho-Yu holiday party was Mexican food, and this ended up being a great potluck dish!

Here’s the recipe, as adapted from Gimme Some Oven.  I highly recommend doubling the recipe, eating half for now and freezing the rest!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small white onion, peeled and diced
  • 1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, shredded or diced into small 1/2-inch pieces (*see substitution below for making shredded chicken)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles
  • 13-15 corn tortillas
  • 3 cups Mexican-blend shredded cheese
  • 1 batch red enchilada sauce, or 1 can store-bought enchilada sauce
  • (optional: 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Prepare your enchilada sauce, if making homemade.
  2. In large saute pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add cooked chicken and green chiles, and season with salt and pepper.  Sauté for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the chicken is cooked through.  Remove from heat and set aside.

    Shredded Chicken with Sauteed Onions and Green Chiles
  3. To assemble the enchiladas, set up an assembly line including: tortillas, enchilada sauce, chicken mixture, and cheese. Lay out a tortilla, and spread two tablespoons of sauce over the surface of the tortilla.  Add a spoonful of the chicken mixture on top of the tortilla, then sprinkle with 1/3 cup cheese. Roll up tortilla and place in a greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish, lined with foil for easy clean-up (unless you love really scraping melted cheese off your baking dishes). Repeat with the remaining ingredients.  Then spread the remaining enchilada sauce on top of the tortillas, and sprinkle on the remaining shredded cheese.

    Assembled and Sauced
  4. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and serve immediately, garnished with chopped fresh cilantro if desired.

    Ready for the Oven

*If you are using pre-cooked chicken, just leave it out of the saute and cook the onion and green chiles for 1 additional minute (instead of 6-8).  Once you remove the onion and green chiles from the heat, stir in the chicken (which should be shredded or chopped into bite-sized pieces).  You can find instructions on how to make shredded chicken here via slow cooker or stove top.

Shredded Chicken with a Batch of Enchilada Sauce
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Red Enchilada Sauce

Here’s another recipe made so much better with a touch of smoked paprika, and I also added a little tomato paste to give it a little touch of acidity.   The obsession is still going strong!

I found the original recipe is on Gimme Some Oven.  I’ll share the full enchilada recipe that I used it with soon!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, or any other neutral oil)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups chicken stock

INGREDIENTS:

  1. Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour and whisk together over the heat for one minute. Stir in the remaining seasonings (chili powder through smoked paprika).

    Stir in the Spices
  2. Stir in tomato paste until well incorporated. Then gradually add chicken stock, whisking constantly to remove lumps. Reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes until slightly thickened.
  3. Use immediately or refrigerate in an air-tight container for up to 3 days.  Mason jars work well.

I’ve made this enchilada sauce a LOT in the last year and have subsequently gone through quite a few jars of chili powder.  I’ve tried Spice Islands, Simply Organic, Kroger, and McCormick.  And I have to say my favorite chili powder as of late is Target’s Market Pantry chili powder!  I’ve purchased two jars of it and have enjoyed the extra bit of kick it has compared to other chili powders both times.

Red Enchilada Sauce