Red, White, and Blue Chicken Enchiladas

It’s Wednesday and I’m still reminiscing about last weekend. What made last weekend so special? I had a visit with my childhood best friend. The visit was much too short, but I’m still so glad we got to see each other. We hadn’t seen each other for two years. However, we frequently keep in contact through Facebook and blogging (check out Rhi’s blog, she has a super funky post about how to create vibrant and colourful hair). I love how even after so much time apart, conversation comes naturally. We catch up on every day things as if we’ve never been apart. We realize coincidences that, despite being so far apart, we have come to have so many similarities in our lives (from music to pastimes and more). I feel very fortunate that, even after all these years, we remain close friends.

Rhi and Me at her wedding (back in 2007)

The dish I’m featuring today reminds me of Rhi. Not because of any childhood memories, but because of the theme (red-white-and-blue). I made this dish to Celebrate the 4th of July with Bryan. Rhi is living in the United States.

So, what are the red-white-and blue ingredients?

  • Red: Tomatoes, Red enchilada sauce, red peppers
  • White: Chicken, tortillas, mushrooms, cheese
  • Blue: Blue corn tortilla chips

Did you make red-white-and-blue themed treats to celebrate the 4th of July? Please link me to your recipes, I need ideas for next year!

Red, White, and Blue Chicken Enchiladas

Ingredients

  • 8 white tortillas – approximate cost $2.00
  • 3 small boneless, skinless, chicken breasts (about 700 grams) – approximate cost $7.00
  • 1 can diced tomatoes – approximate cost $1.25
  • 1 can tomato sauce – approximate cost $1.25
  • 2 red peppers, diced – approximate cost $2.00
  • 500 grams crimini mushrooms, diced – approximate cost $2.00
  • 1 vidalia onion, diced – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil  – approximate cost $0.10
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced – approximate cost $0.40
  • 1 tablespoon Italian Spices – approximate cost $0.10
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder – approximate cost $0.15
  • 1 teaspoon dried cilantro – approximate cost $0.10
  • 300 grams Monterey Jack cheese, shredded – approximate cost $4.00
  • 300 grams Old Cheddar cheese, shredded – approximate cost $4.00
  • 100 grams (about 1 1/2 cups) blue corn tortilla chips, crushed – approximate cost $1.50

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit.
  2. Bake the chicken until cooked through.
  3. Shred the chicken.
  4. In a large pot, sautée the onion in olive oil until softened.
  5. Add the garlic and continue to cook for 1 minute.
  6. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, crimini mushrooms to the pot and bring to a simmer.
  7. Simmer for 15 minutes (the liquid should reduce and the sauce should become sort of thick).
  8. Add the red peppers, Italian spice, dried cilantro and chili powder.
  9. Remove sauce from heat.
  10. Fill each tortilla with a portion of the chicken and sauce (you want to have some sauce left over).
  11. Roll the tortillas and place seam side down in a 9×13 baking pan.
  12. Sprinkle with the shredded cheeses.
  13. Pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas.
  14. Bake for 15-20 minutes (the cheese should be melted).
  15. Remove from over and sprinkle with blue corn tortilla pieces.
  16. Let stand for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Makes about 8 servings (approximate cost: $3.36 per serving).

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Spicy Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

Enchiladas are a staple in our home. I find this a bit weird, because I didn’t eat enchiladas growing up. My community had a large German influence, so the only Mexican food I had eaten (until I was about 18) was ground beef tacos. Even now there are very few Mexican restaurants in the area.

With Bryan having grown up in the Southwest US, and my love for the food he introduced me to there, I’ve taken it upon myself to learn to cook a few of the traditional dishes from that region. This isn’t always easy, mostly because finding the ingredients can be difficult.

In particular, New Mexico green chiles (our favourite), are especially hard to find. Chile is a staple in New Mexico. In fact, I tried to order a pizza in New Mexico once with my favourite topping: green olives. They don’t carry green olives and offered me green chiles as a substitute. That same trip, I stopped for a sub on my way to the airport and was surprised to find green chiles as a topping. For now, I make substitutions. It’s never quite the same, but always very tasty.

Usually I will make an enchilada casserole (that is a nice way of saying I cut everything into bite-sized pieces and mix it all together before baking it). Recently, I decided to make the rolled enchiladas. I added a few ingredients to my usual recipe as well (mushrooms and onion). I should do this more often. There is a better ratio of tortillas to filling. And the tortillas come out a bit crispy-er.

Spicy Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

Ingredients

  • 6 tortillas – approximate cost $1.50
  • 2 medium-sized boneless, skinless chicken breasts – approximate cost $6.50
  • 2 jars of Salsa Verde (green salsa) – approximate cost $4.50
  • 2 cups Mexican-cheese blend (Cheddar, Colby, and Monterey Jack cheeses), shredded – approximate cost $2.00
  • 4 portabella mushrooms – approximate cost $1.50
  • 1 Videlia onion – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil – approximate cost $0.05

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Bake the chicken breasts until cooked through (about 20-30 minutes).
  3. Allow the chicken to cook until you can handle it easily (or refrigerate and save until you’re ready to make the enchiladas).
  4. Grate 2 cups of the various cheeses (or buy already shredded cheese).
  5. Chop the chicken, mushrooms, and onion into small pieces (about 1/4-1/2 inch cubes)
  6. Arrange some of the chicken, onion, mushroom, and cheese in the center of each tortilla (reserving about 1 cup of cheese).
  7. Spread the vegetable oil over the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish.
  8. Roll each of the filled tortillas and place seam down in the baking dish.
  9. Sprinkle remaining cheese over the rolled tortillas.
  10. Pour the Salsa Verde over the tortillas.
  11. Bake the enchiladas at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-30 minutes (cheese should be completely melted and tortillas should be starting to get slightly crispy at the edges).
  12. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 8 servings (approximate cost: $2.10 per serving).

Breakfast Quesadillas with Peanut Butter and Bananas

I bought a few too many tortillas when preparing our Mexican-themed dinner the other week. Usually Bryan eats tortillas for a snack, so I bought two packs to make sure there would still be tortillas to make the spicy chicken enchiladas. Turns out one package would have been more than enough. Now, I’m looking for creative ways to use up the extra tortillas.

In addition, we also had some bananas that were very ripe and needed to be used up.

The solution? Peanut Butter and Banana breakfast quesadillas!

What’s your favourite way to use up leftover tortillas and/or bananas?

Peanut Butter and Banana Breakfast Quesadillas

Ingredients

  • 2 tortillas – approximate cost $0.50
  • 2 very ripe bananas, sliced – approximate cost $1.25
  • 4 tablespoons of unsweetened peanut butter – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, divided – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1 tablespoon of butter, divided – approximate cost $0.10

Method

  1. Lay the two tortillas on a clean, flat surface.
  2. Spread 2 tablespoons of peanut butter over each tortilla, making sure to go right to the edge (more if you want).
  3. Arrange the banana slices on half of the tortilla (not quite to the edges).
  4. Fold in half and use the peanut butter to seal the edges.
  5. Heat 1/2 tablespoon of butter in a frying pan.
  6. Fry the quesadilla until it is golden brown in colour.
  7. Flip and fry the other side.
  8. Move the quesadilla to a plate.
  9. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon.
  10. Serve and enjoy.

Makes 2 servings (approximate cost: $1.45 per serving).

New Mexican Style Chicken Tacos

I’ve had a few vacations to the Southwest, in particular to New Mexico. Though I haven’t seen all of it, from what I have explored I can say that I think it is a gorgeous state. I love going for walks through Santa Fe, sight-seeing from the top of a Mesa, hiking to the natural hot springs.

While I can’t bring any of that home with me, I have tried to replicate some of the food! My visits to New Mexico were the first time I tasted both Mexican and Mexican-American food (aside from the beef tacos we make at home with the taco spice seasoning). I was introduced to a variety of new foods, both homemade and from restaurants. I miss the wonderful breakfast burritos, enchiladas, chile rellenos, arroz con pollo, and chicken tacos, among other things.

Since then, I’ve experimented quite a few times to recreate some of my favourite dishes. Most of the time, it’s not quite the same. However, I think I might finally be close with my chicken taco experiments. This recipe should satisfy my craving for a delicious chicken taco from El Parasol  until my next vacation.

New Mexican Style Chicken Tacos

Ingredients

  • 6 large tortillas – approximate cost $2.00
  • 2 tomatoes (I used Roma tomatoes), diced – approximate cost $1.25
  • 2 ripe avocados, pitted and diced – approximate cost $2.50
  • 1 small can of green chiles – approximate cost $2.00
  • 200 grams shredded cheddar cheese (optional) – approximate cost $3.00
  • Sour cream (optional) – approximate cost $2.00
  • Salsa (optional – I usually skip this topping) – approximate cost $2.00
  • 3 pieces of boneless, skinless chicken breasts – approximate cost $8.00
  • 2 cups of chicken broth – approximate cost $1.75
  • 1 tbsp dried cilantro (of 2-3 springs of fresh cilantro) – approximate cost $0.25

Method

  1. Bring the chicken stock to a boil.
  2. Add the chicken breasts.
  3. Cook uncovered until there is only a centimeter or two (1/2-3/4 inch) of broth left in the pot (the chicken should be cooked through at this point).
  4. Prepare the various fillings (chopping tomatoes and avocados, shredding cheese) while the chicken cooks.
  5. Shred the chicken (or chop into very small pieces). Note: You might want to remove the remaining broth from the heat during this process. It can take a while.
  6. Return the chicken to the broth and bring to a simmer.
  7. When it looks like the broth is mostly gone, add the cilantro.
  8. Remove the pot from the burner and cover it with a lid to keep the chicken warm.
Makes 6 servings (approximate cost: $4.13 per serving).

Serving suggestions

There are at least two ways that you can serve this dish. One is to let everyone build their own taco at the dinner table, which is a good option if you are serving guests with allergies or a variety of food preferences. I like to build it myself to make sure there is a good balance between all of the fillings in each taco. When I prepare the tacos myself, I like to grill it for a few moments before serving, which is an optional step, it tastes great either way!

Make sure you don’t over-stuff your tortilla, this increases the chances of it falling apart during your meal. With everything on hand, remember that it’s easy enough to prepare seconds or even thirds!

These tacos can be a bit messy, so keep lots of napkins on hand during your meal! Enjoy!
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