Friday, January 6, 2012

One of our Favorite Things

We love enchiladas in this house.  And not those creamy chicken-full-of-sour-cream-and-cheese ones, either.  (Although, admittedly, Ben and I do have a soft spot for those.)  These are the kind with the home-made red sauce.  We will ever be indebted to Barbara (and you know who you are!) for first giving us the idea for these super-easy enchiladas.

I literally have used this recipe to use up dozens of leftovers - especially of the chicken variety.  And I do mean ALL KINDS of leftovers - pork, ground beef, even BBQ chicken, once.  We just chop it up, mix it with black beans and little sauce, and we are ready to go!  They have all tasted wonderful.  And so, after Christmas when we had a ton of leftover homemade chicken tenders... guess what I was making?

That's right.  Chicken and black bean enchiladas.  I also discovered an easier way to assemble these babies, which I thought I would share for those of you who may be interested.  Read on to find out what it is...

As a side note, you can make these enchiladas with any type of meat/poultry/beans that you have on hand, but my favorite combination by far is the black bean and chicken.  I have also made it with meat and cooked veggies, like peppers, onions, and zucchini.  That was also delicious!

Quick & Easy Enchiladas
Enchilada Sauce:
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
1 c. salsa
1/2 to 1 pkg of taco seasoning

Small taco-size tortillas, flour or corn
Black beans
Shredded cheese (save some to sprinkle on top!)

First, gather the ingredients for your sauce.

Pour the tomato sauce into a small bowl or measuring cup, then refill the can with salsa.

 Add salsa and taco seasoning to tomato sauce and stir.  I find that some taco seasonings are spicier than others, so if I'm not sure how much I need, I use half a package.  The next time I can always add more if I need to.

Once you've got your sauce ready, start preparing your filling.  Take your leftovers and chop them up or shred them.  The chicken tenders I was using were a lot easier to chop than shred, so that's what I did.  Notice I left the breading on?  That's because these are really hard to screw up.

Add black beans.  I used a can of black beans because it was what I could get my hands on quickly.  Just toss them in a strainer in the sink, rinse them, and add them to the chicken.  Voila!

Now you will want to season your filling so it tastes kind of Mexican and not blah and unseasoned.  I have done this other times by adding cumin, salt, and pepper, maybe some lime juice.  However, the easiest way to do it is to just stir in a few spoonfuls of the enchilada sauce.

Now here's my "quick and easy" tip. 
In the past I have assembled the enchiladas putting in one filling at a time.
Chicken?  Check.
Beans? Check.
Cheese? Check, check!

Although it takes more time, this is a good way to make a variety of types of enchiladas at the same meal.  For example, Olivia doesn't like black beans but prefers plain chicken enchiladas.  I can do that when I don't mix the filling ingredients.  Or maybe I am using up more than one kind of leftovers - like taco meat and garlic chicken.  I don't want to mix those, either.  But when time is of the essence, you really can just dump it all in the same bowl if you want to.  Including the cheese.  I did, however, use two different kinds of cheese.  The bowl on the left is the pepper- jack (yum!) and the bowl on the right is colby-jack.  You can mix in as little or as much cheese as you'd like.

 Next, before we start rolling, we must prepare the pans.  Coat with cooking spray and spread a thin layer of enchilada sauce on the bottom of the pan, like so.  This is also when I turn on my oven to start preheating.  You'll want to bake these at 375 (cold filling) or 400 (warm filling).

Next, place about a quarter-cup of filling in each tortilla.  Roll up enchilada style and place into pans.  Spread a little more sauce on top.  You're not going to be drowning these things in sauce, but you do want to have a coating of sauce on the outside of the tortillas to keep them soft while you're cooking them and to add flavor.

 Next, sprinkle a layer of cheese on top.  Since I use more than one type of cheese, I sprinkle whatever cheese on top that I used in the middle so I can tell them apart.  Notice - pepper jack on the left, cojack on the right.

Bake in your oven for 25-35 minutes or until all the cheese is melted.  I forgot to take a picture of the finished product until after dinner.  This is all that was left...

And they make GREAT leftovers the next day!  In fact, Ben requests that I make extra on purpose so he can take them for lunch for the next few days.

I'm telling you.  If your family is into Tex-Mex, you will want to try this and soon!

1 comment:

Jayne said...

Making these tonight! They look yummy and guilt-free!