Here's the ultimate crowd pleaser! Turns out you can have restaurant quality Mexican cuisine right at home with this easy chicken enchilada recipe! Just one hour is all it takes! An ultimate go to for small get togethers or a meal that yields plenty of leftovers! Use corn tortillas to make these "Gluten-Friendly!"
My husband and I live for Mexican food, so of course enchiladas are one of our household favorites and we have them on just about a weekly basis. I like to go back and forth between red and green sauce, but my favorite pairings are always beef with red sauce or chicken with green sauce. I typically make two 9x13 pans full because my husband will devour an entire dish to himself within a day because they're great leftover and very easy to go back for more! This recipe is also so easy to prepare, so even a cook with minimal experience can do this one. Enjoy with Spanish rice and refried beans for the ultimate Mexican feast!
Tips to Consider:
This recipe makes A LOT of enchiladas, so this is always a fun one to serve if you're hosting a small get together or if you just love enchiladas and want to make sure you have plenty of leftovers to take the stress off one extra night of cooking. Otherwise, feel free to half this recipe if you'd like. I can assure you though that if your family loves Mexican food, you'll be grateful for the extra helpings!
You can feel free to prepare your chicken ahead of time since this is the most timely part of the recipe, you can do this a day ahead of time if you're someone who likes to prep meals for the week. You can also choose to marinade your chicken breasts overnight or up to an hour for extra, indulgent flavor (this step is not necessary though, so no pressure). Also, I prefer corn tortillas but my husband is partial to flour so I typically end up going that route. Feel free to use whatever tortillas you like though, just be aware that corn tortillas will yield more enchiladas since they're smaller and they can't handle as much filling as flour without busting open.
For the cheesy goodness, I like to use two different types of cheese for this dish: Monterrey jack shredded cheese is typically my go to for the initial topping prior to going in the oven, but feel free to use Colby Jack or any other kind of Mexican blend you might like. I also like to double up and add Queso Fresco on top after they come out of the oven so they're sprinkled with extra, cheesy love.
For unbreakable corn tortillas if these are the route you're going, get a paper towel damp and grab a stack of corn tortillas and wrap them like a little present inside the damp paper towels, making sure they're completely bundled up all around. Microwave for 45 seconds and you'll have bendable corn tortillas that don't break! Just be sure to keep them bundled up on a plate after removing them from the microwave to help hold their form while you're assembling your enchiladas.
If you don't have all of the seasonings on hand listed below but you do have a packet of taco seasoning, feel free to use this in place of the seasonings but be aware that you only need to use about half of the packet! I will say that it is tastier to go with the seasoning route provided in the recipe below, but if you don't want to fuss and you're on a time crunch, this is a shortcut that will still deliver you tasty enchiladas! Just don't forget the salt!
Prep Time: 30-35 minutes (Chicken Bake Time included)
Cook Time: 15-20 minutes (Enchiladas)
Total Time: 45-55 minutes
Yield: 20-24 enchiladas (Makes about two 9x13 pans)
What You'll Need:
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts (About 4 chicken breasts)
1 Tbsp ground cumin
3/4 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Juice of one lime
1/4 c olive oil
30 oz canned green enchilada sauce, La Victoria or Las Palmas Brands are my fav!
2 cups shredded cheese, plus a little more if desired (Monterrey jack, Colby Jack or Mexican blend cheese of your choice)
7 oz canned kernel corn, drained
7 oz canned pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 medium sweet onion, chopped
20+ tortillas, 6 inch size for flour, you'll need more for corn since they're smaller
Cherry tomatoes, sliced
Cilantro, roughly chopped
How to Prepare:
*Preheat oven to 400 degrees F for the chicken breasts (You'll reduce heat to 375 degrees F for the enchiladas)
1. In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper and spices and whisk to combine.
2. Prepare your chicken breasts by placing them in a large mixing bowl and sprinkling in all of the seasonings, olive oil and squeeze of lime juice, then using a tong, give them a good toss to coat all chicken breasts generously and evenly.
3. Place your seasoned chicken breasts in a baking dish and place them in the oven on the center rack and bake for 22-25 minutes or until a thermometer reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Time will vary depending on how big the chicken breasts are.
4. Once your chicken breasts are done baking, remove them from the oven and reduce the heat to 375 degrees. Then using two forks, pull the chicken breasts to a chunky shred, discarding any fatty pieces. You may want to move your chicken breasts to another dish to do this so you don't have the hot juices splattering you in the face while you pull the meat. Keep the baking dish you cooked your chicken breasts in to the side to use again after shredding your chicken. Hack: Chicken breasts are easier to pull when they're hot, so don't bother waiting for them to cool!
5. Once your chicken breasts are pulled to a chunky shred, return them to the dish they baked in and add in your pinto beans, corn, chopped onion, 1/2 heaping cup of enchilada sauce and a generous handful of shredded cheese. Test for seasoning and add another pinch of kosher salt and give a stir if necessary. Stir the mixture around to combine all of the flavors, then set aside while you get your baking dishes ready for the enchiladas.
6. In two 9x13 baking dishes, pour in a 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce into each and maneuver the dish to spread the enchilada sauce around evenly to coat the bottom of the pan. Now you're ready to start assembling your enchiladas!
7. Using a large spoon or tong, fill each tortilla with a good scoop of the chicken mixture, then tuck in the ends (tucking the ends won't be necessary with corn tortillas since they're smaller and they break if bent) and fold in the sides and place them seam side down into the baking dish. Repeat this step until your baking dish is full of enchiladas (each pan should have about 10-12 enchiladas) then begin pouring on the enchilada sauce, being sure to coat each enchilada all over and then sprinkle about 3/4 cup cheese on top of the enchiladas. Repeat this step with your other baking dish and tortillas until both are full.
8. Bake your enchiladas on the center rack side by side, you'll turn them around half way through baking to ensure both ends are baked evenly. You'll bake them for 15-20 minutes total at 375 until cheese is melted and they are bubbly hot around the edges.
9. Remove from oven and top with cilantro, sliced tomatoes, sour cream and Queso Fresco!
10. Serve hot with Spanish rice and refried beans if desired and add any extra toppings you might like! Enjoy!
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"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."