17 May 2012

Chicken Enchiladas

*Disclaimer* I am in NO WAY going to pretend that this is healthy, and no, it will not fit in your diet. And no, these are in no way "traditional." Like everything else on my blog, you'll have to look elsewhere if you want traditional.

This has been a long time favorite in my house. I don't make it very often *BECAUSE* it is not all that good for you, and it's just not the same if you omit the cheese, but it is worth it once in a while. You could easily substitute low fat cheese if you know of one that melts and browns well, though. :)

It was late last night when I was making this, so I spaced and forgot to take a big ingredient shot. I did, however, take photos as I chopped things up....that counts, right? NO? Dang. Oh well....what is that phrase my kids are chanting these days? Ah, yes...."You get what you get and you don't throw a fit!" ;)

You'll need: 1-2 bell peppers, whatever color you like (I used a whole green, half a yellow and half an orange since that's what I had on hand); one medium sized onion, white or yellow; 1 1/2 lbs of chicken breasts (you can use thighs if you prefer dark meat, which I do not); 1 can of sliced olives; approximately 12 small flour tortillas, give or take depending on the size of your pan, the size of the tortillas (I like 'fajita size' by Mission), and how full you stuff them; cheese--1 pound of monterey jack and half a pound of medium cheddar; 1 packet of Lawry's fajita seasoning and 1 packet of McCormick taco seasoning (I know, for SHAME....and I almost always use a home made mix for everything else....but I've been making these since I was about 15 or 16 and they just aren't the same without store bought sodium-laden sauce packets....you can use a homemade mix if you'd like since you have no emotional attachment to this recipe like I do....but you'll need 2-3 times as much as you'd normally use for tacos and the like); chicken broth (or chicken base and water...whatever); water. Optional: Sour cream.

Start by cutting up the peppers, onions and chicken. I like the chicken pieces to be about twice the size of the vegetables. Shred all the cheese (enlist your husband for this part....I always tell him if he WANTS lots of cheese he has to be the one to SHRED lots of cheese!).

(Note: I am *STILL* swooning over that vintage Corelle pattern. Those who know me on Facebook understand why. Maybe I should blog about it? Hrm....)

Heat a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat w/ a tablespoon or so of whatever oil you like. Add the peppers and onions. Cook them until they are translucent, but not browned. Don't worry if you cook them a little too long...you really can't screw it up.

Remove the peppers and onions from the pan (or most of them...don't stress getting every last one), and add the chicken to the pan (feel free to season it liberally w/ black pepper and whatnot...don't use much salt if you're opting for packet seasonings later, though...). Now, I SUPPOSE you could cook all of it together, but quite frankly, this is how I've always done it and it's hard to undo almost 15 years of habit. Plus I like the peppers and onions to not be browned and the chicken to be browned, so this is my way of making sure it's just to my liking. Shoot me. ;)

When the chicken is done, remove it from the pan. Set up a "station"--tortillas, cheese, olives, vegetables, chicken, pan (oh, and you should totally line your pan with pan lining paper so you don't have to scrub the pan afterwards....).

When you're ready to assemble....

3-4 pieces of chicken, a handful of veggies, a few olives...

Sprinkle with a handful of monterey jack cheese...

Roll them up tightly, and place it in the pan. Stuff as many as you can get into the pan. I probably could've put another 2-3 in this pan, but I ran out of tortillas because *SOMEONE-who-shall-remain-nameless* has been using the package I bought for this for breakfast burritos all week....

At this point....remember the pan you cooked everything in? Yeah, put that back on the burner and turn it up to medium high. Throw in your taco and fajita seasoning...add some garlic powder, some cayenne, whatever you like, really. Stir the seasonings all around a bit to toast them....then pour in 1 cup of chicken stock and 1/2-3/4-ish cup of cold water to deglaze the pan (remember...browned chicken=yummy pan drippings!). Use a whisk to scrape all the good bits off the bottom of the pan and mix the seasonings with the water. Let it boil a few minutes to reduce slightly...not real necessary, but again, I've always done it, so I still do it. At this point, if you wish, you can mix in a few tablespoons of sour cream...I do it sometimes, but I'm not a huge fan of sour cream, so I didn't this time. Mix together about a tablespoon of flour and 1/4 cup of cold water in a cup with a fork and then pour it directly into your sauce and mix it up--this will help thicken it in the oven. Turn the heat off and pour the sauce directly over the pan of rolled up tortillas. I use a small measuring cup and pour it a little bit at a time to make sure the tops are all evenly covered, and then pour the rest into the baking pan.

It's going to look soupy, don't worry. Most of that liquid will be absorbed by the tortillas when you bake it.

Top with cheese--now, I prefer just a little bit of cheese on top, but my husband likes lots, so since these were for my husband by request....well....avert your eyes....

Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 30 minutes. It won't kill it if it's a little over, and it won't kill YOU if it's a little under since everything inside is pre-cooked, but you want to give the cheese inside a chance to melt and the tortillas a chance to absorb the sauce. The last 3-5 minutes, turn the broiler on to thoroughly brown the top.

As you can see, it'll still be a little saucy when you take it out of the oven, but it's enchiladas...they're supposed to be saucy! ;) Plus, that sauce should have thickened up by now and not be super runny. It will thicken further upon standing as well. I cut them with a serrated knife and serve in squares like a casserole. If you want to, you could try to cut the individual enchiladas out of the pan....but that's more effort than I tend to want to take. :)

In a word, NOM!

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