Best Chicken Enchilada Recipe that is Easy to Make Ahead and Freeze
Did you do a double take when you saw the picture below of a "slice" of the best chicken enchilada recipe? You are definitely at the right place. The presentation shown is based on a "trick" that we developed at our store to get all the flavor of a creamy chicken enchilada without any mess. Instead of rolling the flour tortillas, they are stacked like a pie. However, we do give you the recipe below so you can make them in the traditional form as well.
With that backdrop in mind, do you know what makes a dish an enchilada (as opposed to a burrito or taco?) Our research shows that a wet sauce needs to be slathered over the top of the rolled tortillas that have been stuffed with yummy ingredients. A corn or flour tortilla may be used. We think our recipe fits the bill...well except for the rolling part.
So, you decide which method will work best for your family. Either way, the results are creamy and delicious. You probably have most of the ingredients on hand. The addition of spinach provides an additional nutritional punch that won't be noticed by the pickiest of eaters. As a result, this recipe gets the kid-friendly seal of approval from our customers.
As always, the recipe is freezer friendly, including the sauce.
Before you begin assembly of the chicken enchiladas, gather and prepare the ingredients listed. The following ingredients will make 6 servings presented as 2 "pies" or as 6 rolled enchiladas.
- 6 Soft Flour Tortillas (approx. 8" round) (use whole wheat for a healthy version)
- 1 cup sour cream (use low-fat to save calories)
- 1/4 cup yogurt (we use non-fat to save calories)
- 1/2 cup milk (use skim to save calories)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 cup mild diced green chilies
- 1 cup spinach, defrosted and drained
- 2 cups chicken, cooked and diced
- 2 cups Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 1/2 cups Monterey Jack Cheese (use low-fat to save calories)
- 2 Tablespoons green onion, sliced
You will have some options for assembling the Best Chicken Enchilada Recipe when you get to step 6. Package this entree in the form and serving size that is most convenient for your family.
1. Add the following ingredients to a large bowl and combine with a spoon:
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup yogurt
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 cup mild green chiles
2. Remove approximately 1/2 cup of the sauce to a separate bowl and set aside. This will be served on top of the prepared enchiladas.
3. Add the following ingredients to the remaining cream mixture:
- 1 cup spinach
- 2 cups diced chicken
- 2 cups Great Northern beans
- 2 cups Monterey Jack cheese
To make chicken enchiladas layered like a pie:
4a. Layer the following ingredients in a 9" round aluminum tin or baking pan:
- 1 tortilla
- 1 cup of chicken mixture (spread with a spoon)
5a. Lightly press the first layer down and repeat the layer from step #1a again.
6a. Lightly press the second layer down and layer the following ingredients on top of the previous two layers:
- 1 tortilla
- 1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese
- 2 Tablespoons green onion.
To make traditional chicken enchiladas:
4b. Scoop approximately 2/3 cup of the filling into the center of each tortilla.
5b. Roll each tortilla and place it seam side down into a baking dish.
6b. Sprinkle 1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese and 2 Tablespoons of green onion over the top of the enchiladas.
Continue for either method:
7. To cook this entree now, follow the cooking directions below under Print and Cut Cooking Directions.
6. Wrap Chicken Enchiladas that you plan to freeze in aluminum foil and then plastic wrap.
7. Tape the cooking instructions to the wrapped entree.
Print and Cut Directions
Best Chicken Enchilada Recipe
Instructions: Thaw enchiladas and sauce in the refrigerator for approx. 36 hours. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake covered with aluminum foil until heated through, approx. 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake 10 more minutes or until cheese is melted. Stir sauce and pour over enchiladas. Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving. Internal temperature should reach160F.
Serving Suggestions: Serve with rice and salad.
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Tips and Suggestions
Make this dish a favorite of your family by adjusting the ingredients. Here are a few suggestions I heard in our store over the years:
- Leave out the chicken and make it a vegetarian recipe.
- Other beans, such as black beans work well in this recipe.
- This recipe is South Beach Phase 2 compliant if low or non-fat ingredients are used.
- Consume enchiladas within 2 months of freezing for the best taste.
- Once you have cooked the recipe, freeze individual portions to microwave later.
- If you are assembling in a baking pan that you don't want to freeze, generously line the pan with aluminum foil. Once the assembly is complete, remove the aluminum foil and freeze.
- This is great recipe to "sneak" in additional purees such as carrot or cauliflower.
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