Test Kitchen recipe: Weeknight Chicken Enchiladas

Today’s Weeknight Chicken Enchiladas take just a little effort to put together and they’re packed with flavor. You can have them tonight or prep and assemble everything and have for dinner tomorrow or later in the week. Make the filling with any leftover cooked and shredded chicken. A grocery store rotisserie chicken works great.

The traditional way to prepare enchiladas is to make your own sauce from scratch, dipping the corn tortilla in the sauce to make them pliable. To save time, you can warm them in the microwave in batches and spoon the sauce directly on the tortilla before adding the filling. You also can assemble the enchiladas the night before and refrigerate them. Just don’t put the final sauce and cheese on them; do that just before baking.

These can be assembled and frozen. Place a bit of sauce in the bottom of a foil pan. (You can also freeze them in smaller portions.) Sprinkle the cheese on or wait until you’re ready to bake them. Cover the enchiladas with plastic and then with foil or place in a large freezer bag. Freeze for up to two months.

To bake, remove the foil and plastic. Add the cheese if you didn’t add before freezing and spoon on the sauce. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees until the enchiladas are completely heated through, about 25 minutes. The pico de gallo is purely optional. You can top these with your favorite salsa or a drizzling of hot sauce or taco sauce.

Weeknight Chicken Enchiladas

Makes: About 15

Preparation time: 25 minutes

Total time: 45 minutes

You can serve these enchiladas topped with dollop of sour cream.

1 can (28 oz.) enchilada sauce (mild, medium or hot)

1 Tbsp. canola oil

1/2 cup diced onion

1/2 cup diced green pepper

1 jalapeño pepper, minced, optional

3 1/2 to 4 cups shredded cooked chicken

1 heaping Tbsp. chile powder

1 tsp. ground cumin

Salt and black pepper to taste

15 to 18 corn tortillas

2 1/2 cups shredded Mexican-style cheese or favorite shredded cheese, divided

Pico de Gallo, optional

1 Tbsp. lime juice

1 Tbsp. canola oil

1 tsp. sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 1/2 cups diced roma tomatoes

1 small white onion, chopped

1 avocado, halved, pitted, diced

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Pour the enchilada sauce into a medium saucepan and heat over low to warm. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, green pepper and, if using, the minced jalapeño. Add the cooked chicken, chile powder, cumin, salt and black pepper to taste. Stir in about 1/2 cup of the warm sauce and 1/2 cup cheese. Stir to combine. Spread about 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of a 9-by-13 baking dish.

Working with several corn tortillas at a time, place them on a plate and microwave about 45 seconds to soften.

Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the sauce on a warmed tortilla, spreading it around. Put about 1/4 cup of the chicken mixture on the tortilla and roll up. Place in the baking dish. Repeat with the remaining tortillas, fitting them snugly in the baking dish.

Pour the remaining sauce over all the enchiladas and sprinkle with the remaining 2 cups of cheese. Cover with foil and place in the oven for 15 minutes to melt the cheese and heat through. Remove from oven and serve with the pico de gallo, if desired.

To make the pico de gallo: Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and serve with enchiladas.

From and tested by Susan Selasky in the Free Press Test Kitchen. Analysis per 1 enchilada.

173 calories (31 percent from fat), 6 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 15 g carbohydrates, 16 g protein, 647 mg sodium, 37 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber.

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