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Recipe Of The Week: Chicken Enchiladas

  • By Jessica Cerra
  • Published Feb 14, 2013

These enchiladas pack so much flavor, it’s hard to believe they are a healthy version. Once you make this recipe it will become a staple in your household. Even better they can be customized by adding more veggies and eliminating or substituting the meat. Also, they can be made ahead and stored in the fridge to bake off on a busy night and are a great batch meal to serve to a group or keep for leftovers. Keep in mind the first time you make these you will be learning the steps, but the second and third time they become much more routine!

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 medium, sweet yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 medium bell peppers (any color), seeds removed and thinly sliced
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp cumin
1 tsp corriander (optional)
2 tsp agave or honey
½ tsp salt
1 rotisserie chicken, all meat removed and shredded
1- 16 oz can tomato sauce
1- 8 oz can tomato sauce
1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
2 4-oz can green chiles or pickled jalapenos (optional)
1 cup sharp reduced-fat cheddar cheese, grated
12 corn tortillas

Notes:

~ Depending on how full each tortilla is this recipe may make 10-14 enchiladas
~ Feel free to add more veggies like carrots, mushrooms, olives, black beans etc. to this dish

Preparation
1. Heat oil in large french/dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 8 min.
2. Add chili powder, cumin, coriander, agave or honey, and salt. Cook for about 1 minute, this will help to develop the flavor of the spices.
3. Add chicken, and stir to combine with the veggies and to coat with the spices.
4. Pour in both cans of tomato sauce and ½ cup water. Bring to low simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Set a strainer in a large bowl. Pour the mix through the strainer so the sauce drains into the bowl, pressing on the chicken and veggies to extract as much sauce as possible. Reserve sauce.
6. In a large bowl, combine the chicken and veggie mixture with the cilantro, chilies or jalapenos, and 2/3 cup of the cheese.
7. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 13×9 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Pour ½ cup sauce on the bottom of the dish and spread it around.
8. Straight from the fridge, a corn tortilla is actually still raw. If you don’t cook it in some way not only will it taste stale, but it will be too stiff to roll and will tear apart. Wrap the tortillas in a slightly damp kitchen cloth, then microwave for 60 seconds until they are soft. Or toast the tortillas over a burner or in the oven so the outside crisps but they can still be rolled.
9. To assemble, place the tortillas on a large cutting board or counter space. Evenly disperse the chicken and veggie mixture into each of the tortillas. Roll them up tightly and place in baking dish (tightly together).
10. Pour the remaining amount of sauce over the top (there may be a little extra sauce you can reserve and keep warm to serve with the enchiladas). Sprinkle the remaining 1/3 cup cheese over the enchiladas. Spray a piece of foil with non-stick cooking spray and place that side down to cover the enchiladas (that way the cheese won’t stick to the foil). Bake covered for 40 minutes. Remove foil, bake 5-10 minutes longer. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Note: You can make the pan of enchiladas ahead of time and store in the fridge for up to 4 days. Increase the baking time by 15 minutes when they come out of a cold fridge.

Serving Recommendations:
~ salsa fresca or pico de gallo
~ avocado slices
~chopped cilantro
~ shredded lettuce
~ light sour cream
~ lime wedges
~ olives

More recipes from Jessica Cerra.

Jessica Cerra is the owner of Fit Food by Jess, a private chef and catering company in Encinitas, Calif.  She is also a professional Xterra triathlete and mountain biker. Follow Jess’ recipes on her “Fit Food by Jess” Facebook page.

RELATED: Meet Private Chef And Xterra Pro Jessica Cerra 

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