Recipe: Chicken & Cheese Enchiladas

We’re just over one week in to 2015 and while I didn’t make any radical New Year’s resolutions, I did commit to getting the junky food back out of our lives.  Seems like a lot of little bad habits crept in over the holiday season – a couple of cookies here, a bag of chips there and before you know it, you’re craving it on a daily basis.  So my focus has been to eat a lot more plants and non-meat proteins, a chicken dish maybe once a week and red meat once or twice a month.  BUT, with all that said, it’s Friday and that used to mean either homemade pizza or taco night.  My compromise solution is Chicken Enchiladas.  We’ll serve these up with come crispy romaine dressed with a little red wine vinegar, some chopped avocado and a little fresh salsa.  Plus it will make enough leftovers for a couple of quick lunches next week.  Don’t cheat and use canned enchilada sauce – this one comes together really quickly and it simmers while you get the rest of the ingredients ready.  You’ll be happy with the outcome, I promise!

Assembled and ready for the oven and then bubbly and ready to eat – yum!

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Chicken & Cheese Enchiladas (Serves 6)


  • For Sauce:
    • 2 tablespoons flour
    • 2 tablespoons oil
    • 2 tablespoons chili powder (I used ancho chili powder)
    • 2 cups water
    • 1 cup pureed fire-roasted tomatoes
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon onion powder
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
    • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • For the Chicken:
    • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast tenderloins (or chicken breast cut into uniform pieces)
    • 1 tablespoon oil
    • 4 crushed garlic cloves
    • 5-6 small dried chili peppers (I used chile de arbol)
    • 2 chopped shallots
    • 3-4 cups water
  • For Enchiladas
    • 12 corn tortillas
    • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar
    • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Optional Sides/Toppings: Chopped Romaine tossed with Red Wine Vinegar, Diced Avocado, Chopped Scallions, Sour Cream


To make the sauce, heat oil & flour in a medium saucepan until well combined and starting to bubble.  Stir in chili powder and combine then slowly start to incorporate the water.  Add the remaining ingredients, stir well and allow to simmer while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

For the chicken, heat the oil in a large skillet that has a tight-fitting lid.  Saute the garlic, chili peppers and shallots for a minute or two and then add the water.  Allow it to come to a boil then add the chicken to poach.  The water should just cover the chicken pieces – add a little more if it doesn’t.  Bring back to a hard simmer, turn off the heat and tightly cover.  Chicken should be cooked through in about 5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the pieces.  Break a piece open to check and add more time as needed – be careful to not overcook it though, it will dry out quickly if you do. Remove chicken to a bowl and allow to cool.  Discard the cooking liquid.

Once the chicken is cool to the touch, shred it and place it back in the bowl.  You can use two forks to shred it but I find it easier to just use my hands.  Add about 1 cup of the enchilada sauce to the shredded chicken.

Lightly oil a large casserole dish.  Heat 3-4 of the tortillas in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds.  Place a couple of tablespoons of the shredded chicken in the center of each tortilla, roll and place seam-side down in the casserole dish.  Repeat with remaining tortillas.  Top with remaining enchilada sauce, chopped cilantro, and shredded cheese.

Bake at 375F for about 15 minutes or until cheese is hot and bubbly.  Garnish with optional toppings to your liking:  chopped scallions, sour cream, salsa, diced tomatoes, avocado are some good options.

Nutritional Info (Excludes Toppings)

Per Enchilada:  Calories, 155; Total Fat, 4g (1g Saturated); Total Carbohydrates, 12g; Dietary Fiber, 2 g; Protein 14g.

Per Serving (2 Enchiladas): Calories, 310; Total Fat, 8g (2g Saturated); Total Carbohydrates, 24g; Dietary Fiber, 4g; Protein 28g.

January 9, 2015Permalink Leave a comment

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