Cooking with Ease

Though I enjoy traditional chicken enchiladas, I also enjoy finding different ways of preparing them.

I like to take a common recipe and put a different spin on it using some typical and non-typical ingredients as well as different cooking methods to come up with different takes on a common meal.

The flavor profile might be the same, but the presentation can take a different spin.

I do cook more traditional chicken enchiladas that have the ingredients wrapped in tortillas, covered in enchilada sauce and cheese and baked.

Here are a couple of different takes on chicken enchiladas that I make that use simple cooking methods:

SLOW COOKER CHICKEN ENCHILADA CASSEROLE

Ingredients:

One 28-ounce can of red enchilada sauce (I also use half red and half green enchilada sauce)

Two boneless skinless chicken breasts

10 corn tortillas cut into strips

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I also use pepper Jack)

1 6.5-ounce can of sliced black olives

— Place chicken breasts and enchilada sauce into the slow cooker.

— Cover and cook on low for four hours on high or eight hours on low.

— Shred the chicken with a couple of forks and add the corn tortillas, cheese and olives, stir and flatten out into a casserole. Top with olives and Cook on low for an hour until the center is hot.

Serving suggestions include topping with sour cream and serve with Spanish rice and refried beans.

CHICKEN ENCHILADA PASTA

Ingredient:

Two chicken breasts (for more flavor you can use bone-in, skin-on breasts when you roast them, and just discard bones and skin before shredding)

One 16-ounce package of short grain pasta, such as penne, rotini or rigatoni

Olive oil (enough to cover chicken breasts while roasting plus more to sauté onion and bell pepper)

One onion, diced

One red bell pepper, diced

Two cloves garlic, minced

Two 10-ounce cans green enchilada sauce

One 32-ounce chicken broth

Two-thirds cup red enchilada sauce

One 4-ounce can diced green chilies

2 teaspoons chili powder to taste

1 teaspoon ground cumin

One-half teaspoon salt to taste

1 cup sour cream

2 cups shredded Colby-Monterey Jack or pepper Jack cheese

— Roast chicken breasts in a 400 degree oven for approximately 25 minutes, until it reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Let the breasts cool enough to handle, and shred with two forks or your fingers.

— Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sauté onion and bell pepper until translucent, approximately 8 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for an extra five minutes.

— Add chicken broth, enchilada sauce chicken, seasonings and green chilies to the onions and bell peppers and bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender yet firm to the bite, about 11 minutes. The liquid should be almost all be absorbed by the pasta as it cooks. Stir in sour cream.

— Add cheese to the top and melt and heated through, about one to three minutes.

You can top with sour cream, sliced avocado, sliced green onion, sliced black olives and diced tomatoes.

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