Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Shannon's Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

I love to cook. I mean, love it! I am a Food Network junkie and would go to culinary school in a heartbeat if we could afford it. I have no desire to become a professional chef, I just want to learn how to cook like one.

I most often cook from recipes. I do have a few of my own creations that I enjoy making, but haven't done as much experimenting as I really should. What I usually do is start from a recipe and make it exactly as directed the first time and then make modifications until I get it just the way I like it.

My enchiladas are one of the things that I make that didn't come from a recipe. They are my own and if I do say so myself, they are super tasty! I think the key is cooking the chicken in the crock pot.

I'm going to share the recipe here, and please feel free to try it out and even share it with friends and loved ones. I do ask, however if you do pass it along that you give me credit for it. Thank you :).

Ok, tip for you - I prefer making my enchiladas with corn tortillas. This is merely a personal preference. I like the taste and they are lower in calories and fat and higher in fiber than flour tortillas, so I always make mine with corn, but have always had trouble with the tortillas cracking on me. I thought if I bought them super fresh and didn't refrigerate them, maybe that would solve the problem. That did help, but I still had some cracking. Tonight I found the solution! A handy, dandy tortilla warmer. We got one as a wedding gift and in our old house, it was stored in some cabinets in the laundry room. Out of sight - out of mind. In this house, there is enough storage in our kitchen for all of our gadgets and serving dishes, including china, so I find myself reaching for things that I left untouched in the old house. So, I pulled out the tortilla warmer and wet a paper towel and placed it in the bottom of the warmer, then piled up 12 tortillas and topped with another wet towel and microwaved on high for 2 minutes. The tortillas were hot and moist and did not crack - not even a little bit. I did pull out one at a time and replaced the lid each time and I'm telling you, it was wonderful. They were like buttah!

Now, onto the recipe

4 frozen chicken breasts
1 large can of diced green chiles (17 ounces)
2 jars of store-bought salsa (whatever brand is on sale)
About 1/4 cup of sour cream (I use the light)
1 large can of enchilada sauce (I use the green)
1 bag (2 cups) of shredded Mexican cheese blend (I use the 2%)
Corn tortillas

Garnish (optional)
Chopped scallions
Chopped tomatoes
Chopped black olives

In the crock pot, place the frozen chicken breast (I use frozen because the water helps make the sauce that the chicken will cook in), diced green chiles, and 2 jars of salsa. Cook on low until chicken is cooked through, then switch to keep warm.

When you're ready to start preparing the enchiladas

Preheat oven to 375

Pull the chicken breasts out of the crock pot and shred with two forks. The chicken will be very tender and will most likely fall off of your fork as you are trying to pull it out of the crock pot. This is a good thing, that means it will be easy to shred and will be nice and juicy! The shredding is time consuming, but I prefer the shredded texture to just cut up chicken. This part is up to you, whatever your preference is.

After the chicken is all shredded, add the sour cream (I usually do about 2 heaping large spoonfuls) and about 4 large spoonfuls of the salsa/green chile mixture from the crock pot. Mix it all together with a fork and set aside.

Spoon the enchilada sauce into the bottom of your baking dish until the entire bottom is covered. Make an assembly line to start making your enchiladas.

Take a corn tortilla and fill the center with the chicken mixture. Top with a pinch of the cheese (I don't put much into the enchiladas, I save most of the cheese for the top) and roll up and place into the baking dish. Repeat until all of the chicken mixture is gone. Top the enchiladas with the remaining enchilada sauce and the rest of the cheese and bake about 30 minutes, or until the cheese is all melted and the sauce is bubbling.

Garnish with scallions, tomatoes, olives, or whatever toppings you like.

I serve simply with some vegetarian refried beans that I add a little bit of the sauce from the crock pot to for extra flavor.

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