Sunday, December 12, 2010

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

I learned something new today.  At least, I don't think I ever knew this.  It's one of those things that's so helpful I hope I wouldn't forget it.

You can bake frozen chicken directly from its frozen state.  Fifty minutes at 375 and the chicken breasts are done.  They don't look pretty, but they are done.  So easy.  I will not forget this tidbit of useful knowledge ever again!

I have had this recipe for Creamy Chicken Enchiladas in my "To-Try" folder for months.  It stayed there for so long because I don't generally like such hands-on recipes (anything that involves folding, rolling, stuffing, etc.).  After this experience, I'm not going to be so hesitant again.  I've got the technique down.  I can't cut an onion the right way, or mince garlic with any particular finesse, but I can roll these enchiladas.

Here's what you need, plus salt, pepper and water.

First, dice your chicken.  You'll need 5 cups.

I didn't have enough (argh) and wasn't going to bake more, so I grabbed my pinch hitter - a can of great northern beans.  Cheap protein and fiber.  You can't beat beans!

When all was said and done, I had about 3 1/2 cups of diced chicken (1 pound - I was curious).

In a large bowl, beat your softened cream cheese, onion powder, cumin, salt, pepper, cayenne (I added this for a little kick), and water.  This smells so good.  It would be a tasty spread for crackers!

Add the chicken and slightly drained and rinsed beans, and stir to combine.

Next we roll.  I measured the chicken mixture using a 1/4 cup as the recipe suggests because I didn't want to end up with under- and over- stuffed enchiladas.

So here's how you do it.  Put your 1/4 cup chicken mixture in the middle of the tortilla.  Let the tortilla rest in your left hand and use a spoon to spread the mixture down the middle of the tortilla, pressing against your hand.

So easy!

Line 'em up, seam side down, in 2 greased 9 x 13 pans.  They fit closely together.

In the same large bowl, mix your cream of chicken soup, diced green chilies and sour cream.  Here's where I ran into a snag.  The recipe calls for 1 cup of milk, but our milk was far too old to even try to use.  So I used chicken broth instead.  Love it when I have a suitable substitution!

Using a 1-cup measuring cup (again, so you can make sure you've covered each dish evenly), pour mixture over enchiladas.

Don't they look decadent and delicious?  But really - reduced fat cream cheese, reduce fat cream of chicken, reduced fat sour cream, 99% fat free chicken broth - they're just gonna be good.  My friend Heather, who is a firm believer in unadulterated, full-fat foods, would be appalled.

Bake for 30-40 minutes at 350 or until they're heated through and bubbling at the edges.  Pull from oven, sprinkle cheddar on top and pop back into the oven until the cheese is melted (about 5 minutes).

The enchiladas were tasty, but a little mild for our tastebuds.  We'd suggest topping with salsa as well as cheddar before your final 5-minute bake.  And when I make these enchiladas again, I plan on adding a can of Rotel to the topping mixture, and cutting the liquid (milk or broth, your choice!) back to 1/2 cup.

Here's the recipe; you can also find it at Taste of Home magazine, where I found it.

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas
1 pkg. (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp. water
2 Tbsp. onion powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/8ish tsp. cayenne
5 c. diced cooked chicken (supplement your chicken with great northern or pinto beans, if necessary)
20 flour tortillas (6 inches), room temperature so they're supple and easy to roll
2 cans (10 3/4 oz) cream of chicken soup
2 c. sour cream
1 c. milk (or chicken broth, or maybe even water if that's all you have - I think this is mostly so it's a pourable sauce that won't dry out or burn during cooking)
2 cans (4 oz each) chopped green chilies
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, water, onion powder, cumin, salt, pepper and cayenne until smooth.  Stir in chicken.
Place 1/4 cup of the chicken mixture down the center of each tortilla.  Roll up snugly and place seam side down in two greased 9 x 13 baking dishes.
In a bowl, combine the soup, sour cream, milk and green chilies and stir to mix well.  Pour over enchiladas.
Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 30-40 minutes or until heated through.  Sprinkle with cheddar cheese and bake 5 minutes more or until cheese is melted.
Yield: 10 servings (2 enchiladas per person)

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