My oldest daughter will be attending college in the fall and is now completely consumed with how she’s going to survive on college food. Although this gave me a huge chuckle, Alex is truly worried about staying healthy and eating right during her college years. This gave Alex and I the idea to design a few easy but healthy recipes that could be tailored to the individual taste buds, and budgets.
One simple recipe that can be prepared a multitude of different ways is chicken enchiladas. These can be prepared as simply or as complex as you like. I’ve written the recipe with lots of “options”, to be easily adaptable for your favorite mexican flavors. Use your leftover roasted chicken or diced chicken from your local market. Any kind of cheese is great with this recipe, so feel free to use your child’s favorite. My family adores Ranchero cheese which makes a truly authentic tasting enchilada. However, it’s not always easy to find, so for something zesty try a pepper jack cheese.
This is the perfect recipe to use as a guide, but substitute all your favorite Mexican flavors. So get creative in the kitchen and make tonight Fiesta night with everyone’s favorite chicken enchiladas!
Easy Chicken Enchiladas
12 white corn tortillas
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped or hand torn
1 small white onion, small diced
1 teaspoon Cumin (optional) (or try a dash of Chipotle Chili Powder)
2 cups Mexican cheese (Pepper Jack, Ranchero, or Monterey Jack)
1 large jar of Mexican Salsa Verde (green salsa) either mild or medium (about 2 cups)
2 cups cooked diced chicken
1 cup sour cream + 1/3 cup heavy cream, to make a crema (optional)
Salt and pepper
Sliced black olives and chopped green onions for garnish
Pre heat an oven to 375F. In a large bowl, mix together the cilantro, onion, 1 cup of cheese, diced chicken and a pinch of salt and pepper and any other spices you’d like to add. Heat the tortillas either by brushing them with a little oil and then heating them in the oven on a cookie sheet for about 5-8 minutes until the tortillas are hot to the touch, or heat them one at a time in the microwave for about 10 seconds. This softens the tortilla so that you can roll the enchiladas.
Heat the salsa Verde in a microwave safe bowl or in a small pan stove top. Once the salsa is nicely heated through, dip a tortilla in the sauce, shaking off the excess. Place the tortilla in an 9×13 baking dish, and on one end of the tortilla, fill with a tablespoon or two of the filling. Roll the tortilla around the filling snugly and place seam side down on one end of the baking dish. Repeat this process with as many tortillas as your baking dish will allow, usually 8-10.
Once your tortillas are filled, pour about ½ cup of salsa Verde over your tortillas, spreading in a very thin layer. Try not to drown your tortillas as they will become soggy. You just want enough salsa to flavor the enchiladas. Mix together the sour cream and heavy cream to make the crema and spread this over the salsa Verde, just down the center.
Next, sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top. Bake for about 20-30 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and the enchiladas are heated through.
Serve with sour cream, fresh avocado slices or guacamole, additional salsa, Mexican Slaw, Mexican rice and chili beans.
Additional Option: Make these vegetarian with black beans and several different cheeses.