Yvonne’s simple Chicken Enchiladas with sauce

We are huge Southwest cuisine fans. We love Tacos, tamales, enchiladas, everything. Nearly every Sunday we eat huevous rancheros for brunch. That's how much we love the Southwestern cuisine. I often make something Mexican-like several times a month. For us it's comfort and I know it will be eaten. Now that the children have determined that Mexican food is indeed delicious I've been trying to pound out a decent enchilada recipe that is both satisfying to adults and kid friendly. My biggest problem has been spice. I tend to prefer spicier foods than the rest of my family can handle which means I end up eating the leftovers. This time I cut out the chilies and upon the girls' approval finally created a recipe fit for the kids. The cooking I do tends to be thrifty and non-waste based; I try to make things like casseroles to sneak in various things lurking in the fridge that need to be eaten. I think most people try to do the same. Normally when making enchiladas I use sour cream to bulk up the filling. This time I replaced the sour cream with lowfat cottage cheese. Turns out it was a wonderful idea and it saved so many calories. 1 cup lowfat cottage cheese is approximately 163 calories with 2.3g of fat compared to 1 cup of lowfat sour cream with approximately 480 calories and 15g of fat. Yikes! What a BIG difference. You can use canned enchilada sauce but if you do I suggest you look at that can and note how much sodium is in that sauce. You'd be surprised how much that can really make or break this dish. My sauce is so easy to make that you'll never want to buy a can of enchilada sauce again. The benefit to you is you save money and you get a more wholesome and fresh meal.

Enchilada Sauce:
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 small onion, grated
1 28oz can tomato puree
1 ¼ cups water
2 Tablespoons self rising flour
1 Tablespoon Chili powder
1 tsp salt or more to taste
¼ tsp Chipotle chili powder
¼ tsp cumin
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp cocoa powder (optional)
pinch cinnamon

Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl, whisk together, set aside. Heat oil in a non-stick pan. Add grated onion and cook for about 2 minutes. Whisk in dry ingredients until you form a paste like mixture. Gradually add the tomato sauce whisking until combined. Whisk in the water. Allow sauce to gently simmer 20 minutes.

Enchilada ingredients
2 (raw) skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 bay leaf
2 tsp salt
2 Tablespoon tomato paste (I can't live without this Amore tube tomato paste)
½ tsp dried cumin
½ tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
½ -1 cup cottage cheese (not a fan of lumps, puree it before using)
½ cup black beans, rinsed and drained well
½ cup chopped cooked spinach (optional)
Corn tortillas
2 cups cheddar cheese, or more if you like them cheesier

Begin by poaching the chicken. Place chicken breasts, bay leaf and salt in a saucepan. Cover with water and simmer 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove from pan, discarding water and allow chicken to cool for a few minutes. Once cool begin to shred the chicken placing it in a large bowl. Add tomato paste, cumin, chili powder and salt. Mix until the tomato paste has coated most of the chicken. Add cottage cheese ½ cup at a time. You want the cottage cheese to moisten the chicken and make it creamy but you don’t want it to overwhelm the filling, use more if you need to. Add spinach (if using) and ½ cup of the cheddar cheese. Fold in the black beans.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Warm tortillas in the microwave on a plate covered with a paper towel. Spray a large baking dish with cooking spray and ladle your sauce in the bottom of your baking dish making sure the bottom is covered. Dip your tortilla in the warm enchilada sauce (turn heat off to be safe) and set in your pan. Add about 2-3 tablespoons of the filling to the middle of the tortilla and roll it up. Place seam side down in your pan lining them up next to each other. Continue making enchiladas until you run out of filling or room in your pan. Top with remaining sauce and cheese. Cover pan with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 5-10 minutes until cheese begins to bubble and brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool a few minutes before serving. Serve with rice and chopped lettuce, tomato and avocado.

This meal can be made in under an hour. Start by poaching the chicken. Gather your ingredients for the sauce and work on that while the chicken cooks. While the chicken cools preheat your oven and prepare your baking pan by spraying it with cooking spray. Shred chicken and create filling. Warm up tortillas. Turn off the enchilada sauce heat and ladle sauce into baking pan. Dip warm tortillas and fill them folding and lining them up in the pan. Cover with sauce top with cheese cover pan with foil and put in the oven. You can save even more time if you have leftover roasted chicken (1-2 cups) which you can shred and prepare the filling ahead of time. Put the filling in the fridge and pull it out once you make the sauce.

This recipe went over well with the children. They raved about how good it was and how it was not too spicy. If your family likes more spice double the chili powder or add a few tablespoons of chopped canned green chilies. I've never tried this with beef or pork because usually I make chicken enchiladas as a way to use up leftover chicken. I'm sure beef and pork would work equally as well with this recipe.


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