Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas

My love of Mexican food runs mainly to the fattening cheese-smothered variety: enchiladas, tacos, nachos… you get the idea.  Although I live in a large urban center and have access to more than taco shells, tortillas and salsa, I have yet to venture further than that.  Also, because I try to eat mostly healthy and since Mexican food, or at least my versions of Mexican food, isn’t exactly brimming with vegetables, I don’t actually eat these things very often, but when I do, YUM!  As with all things, this recipe can be varied to your taste, but try these, they are good!  I made these yesterday for a meeting I had and served them with Spanish rice, which is my Mother’s recipe and which I have also posted below.  Enjoy!!!

Ingredients:

–       8 large flour tortillas

–       5 skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut into long, thin strips

–       1 tablespoon of chili powder

–       ¼ teaspoon of cumin

–       Salt & pepper to taste

–       Vegetable oil (to coat a non-stick pan – I use a Misto)

–       8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature (I always use light; you can’t tell the difference so why not?)

–       ½-127mL can of chopped green chilies

–       4 green onions, thinly sliced

–       1 jar of salsa

–       2 to 2 ½ cups shredded Cheddar cheese (depending on how cheesy you like things)

–       2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped

–       Sour cream (optional)

Directions:

First things first, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees and grease a baking dish large enough to hold all of the enchiladas; I actually used two 8×8 dishes yesterday, they each held four.  Pour a bit of salsa on the bottom of the dish (or dishes) and spread around.  You don’t need a lot here, just enough to sort of cover the bottom.

While you’re heating your pan over medium heat which you will then spray with oil, put your chicken in a bowl and sprinkle with the chili powder, cumin and salt and pepper and toss to coat evenly.  Add the chicken to the oil-slicked pan, and cook until no pink remains.  (I like to cook mine until they are browned, I like the added flavor.)

Meanwhile, in fact as your chicken is cooking it would be a great time to do this, combine the cream cheese, chilies, 2 of the sliced green onions and 1 cup of the shredded cheese.  Spread this mixture evenly among the tortillas and over that put some of the chopped tomatoes.  Be sure to leave some tomatoes though so you can garnish the enchiladas after they’re baked.

Lastly, evenly divide the cooked chicken between the cream cheese-spreaded tortillas and if you’d like (and I do!) sprinkle with a bit for cheese and roll.  Now unlike the origami-encased burrito or fajita (oooh, there’s a very healthy Mexican food – I love fajitas – Mmmm!!), you don’t have to take a tortilla rolling class to make enchiladas.  Just simply roll it up as tightly as possible, ends totally untucked, and place seam-side down in the baking dish.  I don’t use an enchilada sauce, just salsa which is something that I always have on hand, but feel free to use that instead.  Pour the salsa or your enchilada sauce over the enchiladas.  I don’t put the cheese on yet because I like it to be ooey and gooey and if it’s put on right at the beginning you’re risking a browned, crusty outcome.  Not my choice but as in all things, it’s up to you.

Cover the dish with foil and put in the oven.  Remove after 25 minutes and put the remaining cheese on top; return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes.  The cheese should be melted and bubbly but not browned – unless of course that’s how you like it and you’ve put the cheese on at the outset.

When you take it out garnish with the remaining tomatoes and green onion and feel free to either drizzle the sour cream over top or put it out so people can help themselves.  I forgot to buy sour cream and these were still great without so go ahead and omit it altogether.

Here’s my finished product from yesterday!  Keep scrolling down for the rice recipe 🙂

Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas

Now for the rice…

Spanish Rice

Ingredients:

–       1 ½  cups of rice (I used regular long grain rice)

–       3 cups of liquid (I put “liquid” since you can use any type of liquid here, water, stock, anything.  I use the juice from the can of tomatoes and water to measure up to 3 cups; also depending on what type of rice you use, you will likely have to adjust the liquid measure)

–       1 can of tomatoes (I had whole plum on hand and just chopped them up)

–       1Lb of lean ground beef

–       ½ cup of very finely minced onions

–       the remaining green chilies from the enchilada recipe

–       Hot sauce, to taste

–       Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

Bring the liquid to a boil and then add the rice, the hot sauce and salt and pepper; give it a quick stir and then drop the heat right down to the lowest your burner will go and cover.  Leave to simmer for about 25 minutes or however long the directions for your rice says to cook it for.

While the rice is cooking, heat a pan over medium high heat, spray with a bit of oil and add your beef along with the onion and salt and pepper.  Cook until no more pink remains, drain and set aside.

After the 25 minutes are up (or however long your rice takes) , test to make sure the rice is fully cooked and that all the water has been absorbed.  Now normally you should never stir rice, just fluff with a fork, however in this case it’s perfectly acceptable.  This is not going to be a fluffy rice dish, not after you have added the tomatoes and ground beef.

Again, as with all things, make it your own and add other things to this: diced jalapeno pepper, diced red (or yellow or orange or green!) pepper, cilantro, use ground chicken or turkey instead of the beef, etc.  You get the idea.

Serve with the enchiladas, and you’ll be having a feast!

Comer Con Gusto!!

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