Monthly Archives: April 2015

Not-So-Traditional Chicken Enchiladas

Remember that grilled chicken I made a couple of nights ago? Well, we enjoyed a little bit of that on that night, but the main reason I made that was to make a big batch of chicken enchiladas.

Shredded, leftover grilled chicken

Shredded, leftover grilled chicken

 

If you are looking for traditional Mexican enchiladas, you had best go elsewhere, because I will come out right now and tell you, that I’ve taken a few shortcuts and liberties with these. I’m not making my own sauce here, and I put some canned beans in mine, which I’m pretty sure isn’t done in a real, Mexican household.

But what I will tell you is that they are delicious, and they work quite well for me, because they don’t take up my entire day (or my entire energy) to make them. They also freeze really well, so on those days when neither one of us feels like cooking, we just take a couple out of the freezer, heat them up and serve with a salad.

Enchiladas also offer a lot of flexibility as to what you can (and want) to put into them. These ones will have two types of Mexican cheese—queso fresco and queso quesadilla. I really like the queso quesadilla melted over the top, so that’s what I’ve used, as well as a bit of that mixed into the more crumbly queso fresco, inside the enchiladas. I mentioned that I like to put beans into mine~ you can use black beans, pinto beans, pinquito beans, or what ever you like. I am also adding some chorizo with my chicken mixture, this time.

Whatever you decide to put into them, I highly recommend that all ingredients be ready, when it comes time to assemble them. Make it easy on yourself! Please note also, this is usually pretty messy and a bit time consuming, but I always think the results are so worth it.

For the ones I just made, here’s what I used. All ingredients amounts are approximate:

12 flour tortillas (I’ve mixed white and whole wheat flour ones)
16 ounces red chile enchilada sauce (I like Rick Bayliss’)
2-3 cups cooked, shredded chicken
¼ pound chorizo, casing removed
½ white onion, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, diced small
1 10-ounce can whole, green chiles, sliced lengthwise
1 or 2 15-ounce cans beans, drained, but not rinsed~ I’m using some pinquitos and some seasoned pintos, for this
5 ounces queso fresco cheese, shredded
5 ounces queso quesadilla, shredded, divided use

For garnish:

1 small bunch cilantro, chopped
½ cup sliced olives
3-4 green onions, sliced width-wise
2½ ounces queso quesadilla cheese

Prepare a large baking pan or dish (13″x9″x2′ is good) by giving it a good coat of cooking spray. You might also need another small baking dish, just in case you manage to make more enchiladas than your pan will fit.

Mix all 5 ounces for the queso fresco and about 2½ ounces of of the queso quesadilla together. The remaining 2½ ounces of the queso quesadilla will top the pan of enchiladas before baking, so set that aside.

Cook the chorizo with onion and jalapeño

Cook the chorizo with onion and jalapeño

Remove the casing from the chorizo and place it into a small skillet, along with the white onion and jalapeño. Cook over medium-low heat, breaking up the sausage as it cooks. When finished cooking, add to the shredded chicken and gently mix together.

When you are ready to assemble, get out a pie plate and pour the enchilada sauce into it. This is also probably a good time to pre-heat the oven to 350º F.

Dip the tortilla into the enchilada sauce

Dip the tortilla into the enchilada sauce

Dip a tortilla into the enchilada sauce and coat both sides. This will make the tortilla soft and pliable, and will also keep it moist during baking.

 

Roll 'em up, right in the pan

Roll ’em up, right in the pan

Place the wet tortilla directly into the pan. We’re going to roll them up right in the pan, and it’s going to save a whole lot of mess, believe me.

 

Place some chicken near the center

Place some chicken near the center

Put some chicken in there. This is probably a little bit too much, but we learn, as we go along. The first ones are usually really big!

 

Add a spoonful of beans

Add a spoonful of beans

Next, add a spoonful of beans.

 

A couple of strips of chile pepper

A couple of strips of chile pepper

Then, add a few strips of the green chile.

 

A good sprinkling of cheese

A good sprinkling of cheese

Top with cheese. Again, this is probably a bit, too much.

 

Tuck in the ends and roll

Tuck in the ends and roll

Tuck the ends on the sides in and roll, also tucking the ingredients into the tortilla, and place it seam-side-down in the pan. Yes, you are using your fingers. This is what I’m talking about when I say messy.

 

Roll 'em up along side each other

Roll ’em up along side each other

Continue those steps,  until you run out of whichever, though usually the space to put them in, is the first thing to go.

 

You might need another little pan

You might need another little pan

I ran out of room this time, mainly because I’m trying to make as many as I can. So just have a small pan ready, in case you need it.

 

Sprinkle with cheese and your favorite garnishes

Sprinkle with cheese and your favorite garnishes

Sprinkle with cheese and garnish as you please. I love uncured black olives, cilantro and scallions.

Cover the top of the pan with foil and bake at 350º for about 45 minutes. Take the foil off and allow to bake for about 5 more minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest for about 10 minutes or so.

This makes 10-12 servings.

Serve! They go great with a salad

Serve! They go great with a salad

Serve. I find salad and wine make the perfect accompaniments.

 

It's hard to beat homemade enchiladas

It’s hard to beat homemade enchiladas

 

Not-So-Traditional Enchiladas

Not-So-Traditional Enchiladas with beans

 

Good and messy, until the very end.

A Marinade for Mexican-Style Chicken

I’ve been craving some homemade enchiladas lately, and though there are easier ways to prep the chicken, I thought it’d be nice to whip up a marinade and grill it. A little bit of smoky flavor is added, and then because I’m using citrus, there is a lovely bit of tang!

A little citrus makes it tangy

A little citrus makes it tangy

 

This recipe is not specifically meant for chicken enchiladas, so I would encourage you to try it any old time! You can marinade in the chicken in the morning and then grill it in the evening.

It was originally meant for about 6 chicken thighs, but it can be easily doubled, for a very, large whole chicken. I actually made 1½ portions, because my whole chicken was small.

This is easy:

¼ cup orange juice, and you can squeeze this yourself, for a more natural flavor
1 Tablespoon lime juice
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 clove garlic
½ teaspoon Mexican oregano, though regular oregano will do
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon very, finely, minced cilantro

6 chicken thighs (or in my case, a whole chicken)

Combine all ingredients (except the chicken, of course) in a large measuring cup and whisk together.

Wash the chicken thoroughly with water and pat dry inside the cavity (if it’s whole) and the skin, with paper towels.

Place the chicken in a re-sealable plastic bag and pour the marinade over it. Massage the marinade into the chicken so that it’s well coated with it, then place in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. Turn the bag over a couple of times while it’s chilling to make sure all sides are covered by the marinade.

When ready to cook, discard the marinade and put the chicken skin-side-up on the grill, away from the fire.

Meet Juicy-Lucy! She's been on for about an hour, at this point

Meet Juicy-Lucy! She’s been on for about an hour, at this point

Still cooking, and she's still looking good

Still cooking, and she’s still looking good

 

Remove when juices run clear when the thighs are pierced with a knife, or in the case a whole chicken, the temperature reaches 180º.

About to come off the grill, a crispy skin is a tasty thing

About to come off the grill, a crispy skin is a tasty thing

If it’s a whole chicken, let it rest covered for about 15 minutes.

Serve with your favorite Mexican sides.

In my case, chicken enchiladas coming soon!

Happy Easter, Happy Spring!

 

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!

Keeping it short and sweet, this idea for just the eggs was stolen fair and square off of Pinterest, but I happened upon these cute, little egg cups, and I decided to take it one step farther. Any deviled egg recipe will do to fill these, and all you need are some tiny carrot triangles for the beaks and some tiny olive pieces for eyes. I found the cups at Amazon for about $20.00 and found that they worked perfectly for this. I think they really add a lot to the concept.

I think she's winking!

I think she’s winking!

Enjoy your day and the best of the season! Whatever you are celebrating, Happy Spring!