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Easy chicken enchilada recipe

I love “flexible” recipes. If it’s not flexible to start with, I make it that way. Maybe that’s because my mom always taught me to be creative in the kitchen. Or maybe it’s because I never have a complete set of ingredients in my refrigerator.

Regardless of my fluctuating pantry contents, this is one of those recipes. It got a resounding thumbs-up from my husband. The recipe listed is the version I whipped up most recently (x3) when we had a group of 14 (yes, 14) college freshmen over for dinner. The more the merrier, I say! Mix it up to suit your needs and create a custom-designed dinner for 6!

Ingredients

Pick these up at your local grocery store for less than $8. These enchiladas feed 6-8hungry people for less than $1-1.30 per person!

Enchiladas

The ingredients for the bare enchiladas add up to just $6. (These are approximate measurements, mind you.)

  • 10 corn tortillas: $0.50
  • 3 cups cooked chicken, shredded/pulled: $4
  • 3/4 cup sour cream: $0.75
  • Juice from 1 lime: $0.25
  • 1/2 cup chopped green chiles: $0.50
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Sauce

The ingredients for the sauce add up to less than $2.

  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped: $0.50
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced: $0.10
  • 28-0z. can of crushed tomatoes (reduced sodium or salt-free, if possible): $1.25
  • 1 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro: $0.10
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Directions

The most time-effective method for me is to get the sauce going, then start working on the enchiladas while the sauce simmers. Preheat the oven to 350° F.

To make the sauce:

Sauté the onions in the olive oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic and sauté another minute. Add the can of tomatoes, cilantro, salt and pepper. Simmer, covered, over low heat for 20 minutes.

To make the enchiladas:

  1. Mix the shredded chicken, sour cream, lime juice, green chiles, chili powder, salt and pepper. (If you have time, make the night before and let it sit in the refrigerator so the flavors can blend.)
  2. Spread some enchilada sauce in a 9 x 13 casserole dish to barely cover the bottom.
  3. Spoon 1/10 of the chicken mixture into a corn tortilla and fold in the sides to make a tube. Place the tube, seam side down, in the dish. Repeat until all 10 tortillas are rolled up in the dish. (Note: The tortillas will break. They will not be beautiful. You will also not be able to tell when they are cooked and covered in sauce. Accept this and move on.)
  4. Pour the rest of the sauce onto the enchiladas. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes.

Alternative ideas: Use a different meat, add some corn or spinach, create a cream-based sauce, sprinkle cheese on top or try wheat tortillas instead of corn.

On the side: Squash sautéed in butter, salt and pepper. One of Stephen’s favorites!

Chicken enchilada plate with squash

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