Olenick House Rules

Nostalgic Chicken Enchiladas

Being raised just north of the Mexican border, I’ve enjoyed quite a bit of  ‘south of the border’ cuisine. Ingredients for tasty, Hispanic recipes are abundant in that region, but up here in the true north, maybe not so much. I’m just a little farther away now. Haha

So, what do I do to satisfy the craving? No problem. I just check out local speciality stores, use alternate local ingredients and grow my own goodies. Despite our fair city being known as “Winterpeg”, we can still grow some rather mouth-watering pepper varieties here. A shorter growing season with much longer daylight hours makes for some pretty delectable and juicy harvests. Why, sitting in our window sills, right now, are trays of tiny habanero, jalapeno, bell pepper, tomato and tomatillo seedlings.

This is a really easy recipe using local ingredients and savory enchilada sauce that I made from scratch. I will be posting the recipe for that soon. In the meantime, if you have store-bought sauce on hand, lucky you!! That works great too. You’ll notice slight variations on the classic enchilada recipe but like I mentioned, I’m a little bit farther away.

So here we go!

                                                           Ingredients

                                                              6 boneless chicken thighs, cubed

2 tbsp butter or margarine

1/2 cup green onions, sliced

3 garlic cloves, minced

12 oz of frozen and thawed or fresh spinach, chopped

                                        1 cup of ricotta cheese

1/2 cup of sour cream

2 cups of mozzarella cheese, shredded

1 10-pack (6-8 inch) flour tortillas

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

Begin by preheating the oven to 375F/190C .

Coat a 9×14 baking dish with butter or cooking spray and set aside.

Melt 1 tbsp of the butter in a large preheated pan. Add the cubed chicken, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. No need to further season the chicken as it will absorb the other flavours during the cooking process. Allow chicken to develop in flavour, on medium heat, until a light golden colour and cooked through. When done, set the chicken aside in a separate bowl. (Keep in mind that this recipe can easily be made without the chicken and be just as delicious.)

Add the 2nd tbsp of butter to the pan with the chicken drippings. Once melted, add the green onion and garlic to the pan. Saute’ for 3-4 minutes or until the edges begin to brown.

Add the fresh or thawed and drained spinach (This particular time, I happened to have some frozen spinach on hand, so I used that). Stir this together with the onions and garlic. 2-3 minutes for fresh. 5-6 minutes for frozen. The extra time will allow any excess moisture still in the thawed spinach to evaporate. Stir occasionally throughout the allotted time.

At this point, return the chicken to the pan, stir and allow the flavours to meld for about 2 minutes.

Next, add the ricotta cheese and the sour cream. Allow these two ingredients to melt and thoroughly combine with the others in the pan before adding the next one. Stir, stir, stir…

Now add two-thirds of the shredded mozzarella to the pan, then stir to combine. Once all these ingredients are at one with each other (melted and heated through), take the pan off the heat and prepare the tortillas.

There are a couple of options here. The tortillas can be softened up the old-fashioned way with a little oil in a heated pan or you can do it the lazy way (like me, ha!) and put each one in the microwave for 20 seconds.

Once heated, place each tortilla in the coated baking dish and ladle a generous portion of the chicken mixture into each one. Fold the ends of the tortilla together, around the chicken mixture, and then turn it over so that the folded ends are underneath.

Once this process is completed with all the tortillas and chicken mixture, a clean row of beautifully wrapped enchiladas will be just waiting in anticipation to be bathed in that luxurious enchilada sauce.

So, let’s give them what they want! Haha Slowly pour the enchilada sauce over the rolled tortillas, making sure to evenly cover.

Top these off with the remaining mozzarella cheese. Then bake for 20 minutes, until the cheese is ooey-gooey and slightly brown and the sauce is bubbling.

Allow this masterpiece to sit for a few minutes before serving. The only thing that is left to do now…..is bask in the deliciousness of it!! Due to the richness of these, a nice, light salad would be the perfect pairing to this dish.

Can you believe it? All this scrumptiousness and you only have to wash one pan!

Oh, I forgot the baking dish. Ok… you only have to wash only two pans! (Menopause, pfftt…)

When you get a chance to try this easy-peasy recipe, I’d love to hear how it turned out!

Cheers!

Jen

 

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