Chicken Enchiladas

The difference between an enchilada and a burrito? The sauce. Enchilada sauce is basically a tomato sauce with added seasonings to spice it up with intense flavor. This dish has some ease to it in that you don’t have to make the enchilada sauce, tortillas, or prep the beans and green chilies. The only task is to chop the other veggies and pull it all together.

I took a base enchilada recipe and tweaked it with the flavors to deepen the taste. The original didn’t call for lime juice or chopped red pepper, cilantro, or onion. The original didn’t have any added salt or seasonings. Those are my additions and they definitely made it tastier!

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (6-7 breast meat tenderloins make it a faster prep)
  • 1 20-oz can enchilada sauce
  • 1 4.5 oz can of chopped green chilies, drained
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 C Mexican cheese blend
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • 1-2 T lime juice or 1 lime squeezed
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 t ground cumin or cumin seed
  • 1/4 t cayenne pepper
  • 1-1.5 t salt
  • ground pepper to taste
  • 1 t chili powder
  • 2-3 T olive oil
  • 5 burrito flour tortillas
  • Greek yogurt, sour cream OR guacamole (optional topping)

Use either a cast iron skillet or one that can go in the oven to shorten the amount of dish washing. I used a Cuisinart deep skillet that goes straight from the stovetop to the oven.

Chop the red pepper and the onion. Heat the olive oil in the skillet. Chop the cilantro; drain the beans and green chilies while the oil heats. Saute the onions and red pepper, stirring occasionally. While they cook, cut the chicken into 1/2″ cubes. Once the onion and red pepper are softened, add the chicken and all the dry seasonings. Cook until the chicken is no longer clear – do not overcook!  Remove to a bowl and stir in the chopped cilantro, black beans, and lime juice. Mix well.

Add half the can of enchilada sauce to the oven skillet (or a casserole dish). With the remaining enchilada sauce, dribble 2 T of it down the center of a tortilla. Spoon the chicken mix down the tortilla, top with 2 T cheese, and roll it up. Place in the skillet/casserole on top of the enchilada sauce. Repeat until there are 5-6 rolled-up enchiladas. Top with remaining sauce and cheese. If there is any leftover chicken mix, save it for a quick extra the next day.

Bake at 400 degrees or until the cheese on top is browning and the sauce is bubbling. Remove and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes. Serve with Greek yogurt or sour cream or guacamole. Optional garnishes are additional cilantro and green onions.

 


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